The future of the SheppARTon Festival’s future is under threat from a lack of volunteers and professional arts industry skills.By John Lewis
The SheppARTon Festival’s future is under threat from a lack of volunteers and professional arts industry skills.
Festival board chairwoman Karen Parker said despite the success of this year’s festival, next year’s event may not go ahead without the employment of an arts industry professional.
‘‘I don’t think it’s sustainable in its current form,’’ Ms Parker said.
‘‘It’s certainly vulnerable from a human resource angle. It relies upon so much volunteer time.’’
Ms Parker said she was applying to Arts Victoria for funding to employ a part-time events organiser with professional skills in grant applications and marketing.
‘‘They would help to source funding for the festival. There is a whole industry out there involved in sourcing funding,’’ she said.
She said the board was considering moving the festival from the March long weekend to an October date.
‘‘It would help with the timing of grant applications and it’s further away from Christmas,’’ she said. ‘‘Trying to organise a festival over the Christmas period with board members needing to spend time with families is difficult.’’
The 13-member volunteer board is supported by a Greater Shepparton City Council festival and events officer for one day a week.
This year’s festival presented more than 50 events across 10 days from March 1.
‘‘It was a highly successful festival with music, theatre, workshops and community events. I definitely believe in the festival. It’s an important part of our cultural life,’’ Ms Parker said.
‘‘There are those who highlight the negative things of Shepparton, but the festival highlights the positive things.’’
She cited this year’s free Emerging Voices Community Event at Dookie, which attracted more than two thousand people, as a perfect example of community-building.
‘‘I always love the community event. It gets people together,’’ she said.
She said a community event would continue ‘‘as long as there are people who want to put it together’’.
Ms Parker also highlighted the ukulele workshop as a ‘‘simple fun event’’ and the literary lunch, which attracted record ticket sales of 134 after being moved from Friday to Saturday.
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