Festival chopped for 2013

18:37, Oct 10 2012

The Brightwater Wine and Food Festival will not be held next year after making a loss this year.

However, organisers will not rule out a return of the popular fundraising event in 2014.

The Rotary Club of Richmond has staged it for the past nine years and during that time has raised almost $230,000 for the region's community groups.

However, a clash with the Sarau Festival and resistance to ticket prices increasing from $25 to $40-$50 resulted in attendance at last January's festival declining by about 1000 and the event making a "small loss".

Club president Chris Kempthorne said this morning he was disappointed they would not be holding the festival but the organisers needed "time out" to review its future. They needed to resolve several issues including sponsorship before deciding whether to stage the event in 2014.

"It has been a lot of hard work but it has been worth it because it has been very beneficial to the community."


Festival committee chairman Ken McDonald said it was a tough call to make because the festival had been a popular event and had contributed so much to charities.

"We are disappointed to say the least. Not only was it a well-supported community event it provided much needed funds to various charities. Sadly we have had to say no to 2013. Not to say that it is goodbye forever, our hard working committee are already looking at the options for 2014."

Despite this year's loss, the club still distributed $3700 to community groups which helped run the festival. Those donations came from a reserve fund the club had accumulated from running the festival for the past nine years, Mr McDonald said.

Crowds of up to 4000 had attended the event in previous years, allowing Rotary to distribute up to $30,000 annually to community groups and schools.