Lack of patronage claims Altfest

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014

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A Hawera music festival designed to replace the controversial push bike pub crawl has been unplugged.

Yesterday, the South Taranaki District Council's policy development committee voted unanimously to drop the Altfest from its books a year before it was to be reviewed.

Tourism and leisure services manager Phil Waite told council the event, which was run on the same day as the bike ride, failed to reach expectations and the cost outweighed any benefit.

In 2011, the event cost council $45,205 to run, leaving a $20,000 bill. Some 638 tickets were sold.

Last year a scaled-back version at a different venue cost about $27,000 to run, leaving council with a net loss of about $15,000 as numbers dwindled to 97.

A $10,000 TSB Community Trust grant had helped soften the blow.

Councillor Mike Powell said while the event was "well worth a go" it failed to capture its target market. "The dollars don't lie," he said.

Mayor Ross Dunlop said he was "extremely disappointed" the event never took off, but they simply couldn't justify the expense.

Councillor Bonita Bigham urged South Taranaki's 16- to 30-year-olds to engage with council to come up with an event that suited them.

"This is a reflection on the demographic for not supporting the event."

After repeated attempts by police to shut the pub crawl down, promoter Anthony Iwikau set up the alternative venue in 2010.

But when he pulled the pin a year later, council stepped in.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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