Friday 28 November 2008

It's not over till the thin lady sings

In an embarrassing decision for the reform-focused Mayor Val Schier, yesterday Council agreed to retain the existing event organisers of Festival Cairns.

Val has made her opinion loud and clear that the community and the Cairns Regional Council were getting short-changed over the annual festival.

Yesterday Council meeting approved $295,000 for next year's shin-dig, to be managed by O'Brien's, of O'Brien's Toyota fame, the same mob that have been running it since it started six years ago under former Mayor Kevin Byne's leadership.

There has been a great deal of criticism from arty locals, including Arty Val about the Festival. Bar a couple of activities, the Festival is largely a bunch of events already occurring at the same time, wrapped into a colourful programme booklet.

However Mayor Schier has tried to tell us that the Festival is 'in a transitional year'. “The contract is for the 2009 year only, with a plan to develop and grow the program to a festival of national or international significance in the coming years," Schier says.

Arts and culture is one of Val's favourite subjects. She loves nothing more than a front row seat at the theatre or a city that's engaging in cultural interactive fun. It is certainly the nice glue that holds a city together and gives it some soul. However, with so much live music entertainment venues stripped from our city over the last 5 years, Val has a massive task ahead of her it she wants to reform this. It will take a great deal more than kicking out the O'Briens from running Festival Cairns and putting is a few gay boys from Tasmania with events diploma's under their hot pants.

Val has made no secret that she believes the Festival can be run a whole lot better. I agree with her. However Council has recently conducted 'extensive community consultation' that confirmed people want to see the local annual Festival change. Like some Year 5's from Redlynch Primary could have told you that while waiting for the bus.

I say, scrap the lot and start over. Fresh approach. Fresh ideas. And a real festival for and by the people.


Anonymous said...

I agree. The annual festival is a rort I reckon. Simply a way for so well to do to make some more money out of council. the festival programme is a joke!

Tony Hillier said...

Oh dear, oh dear. Another year of mediocrity and a high cringe quotient ... rubber ducks et al.

Anonymous said...

Tony - rubber ducks are quite cute, as a fundraider. But I completely agree with the above comments re Festival Cairns. Much mediocrity - much different events just jammed together & tagged Festival Cairns. Whole heaps of events crammed into 2 weeks & not advertised or organised way ahead.
Val is becoming the Ghost Mayor Who Walks - yes, the "$160,000 Administrator". We've got way enouugh of those in Council.
I received an email from Val the other day - I think it was a leftover from the CairnsFirst email list - saying that the ComPost was being mean to her, & could & would we use some email & texting power against the Compost to try & help her image.
I would suggest Val, that you get rid of the 'Administrator' image, & get in to 'leadership' in its proper sense. Also, it's as simple as Blind Freddie's dog that the ComPost [for whatever reasons] is agin you. Therefore, you either need to use the former CairnsFirst website to good advantage, OR put exclusive Council doings into an insert into the ComPost regarding the doings of the CRC, as Kevin used to do.
Big growth spurt, Val, but a number of people have been advocating for similar with you for ages.
As good as it sounds, you cannot achieve a win-win situation in all fields. Further - I was sitting in the Council meeting at Mossman yesterday, & there are some good Council initiatives, but we're not hearing about them in the media. You need to learn how to use it - & it's not all about PR-spn - it's about people seeing a positive & passionate Mayor & Council.

Anonymous said...

"Fun in the Sun", had a catchy theme. I helped run it for three yeas back in the 1980’s.
Many cultural groups got together to make it work. You are right. The last 5 festivals have been a flop. Of the four very successful Jazz Festivals run by the CTJC, with no help from the Council, I can tell you it’s useless to run a Jazz Festival at the same time as the Reef Festival. Ergo we don't run one. While our not for profit Club, represents ten major bands comprising 50 professional Jazz musicians in North Queensland, we have never been approached for our expertise or advice. Of the submissions we lodged about the sound shell, city place, and where have all the musicians gone from the CBD, we have not had one enquiry from Council or anyone else, that includes Val Schier and Desley Boyle.. I personally don’t think they give a rats backside. Cairns is wasting its energy trying to do anything in the City while Townsville has its act together. There are some very important things that can and needs to be done here, but this isn’t the forum for me to discus it. Civic leaders would have to demonstrate a commitment to action before I interrupted my Jazz activities and fishing.

Rob Williams
President CTJC.