Festival optimism


The Festival of the Falling Leaf seems set to go ahead in 2014 after a meeting held last Thursday attracted about 30 people, of which 15 indicated they were interested in being part of the committee to plan and stage next year’s event.

The festival may have a very different look to previous years.

The meeting was called by Tumut Shire mayor, Trina Thomson, following failed attempts to form a planning committee in recent months.;

Council staff, including the community development team, gave a brief outline at the meeting of the roles and responsibilities of the festival committee during past years, though it seems more than likely the festival will take on a different form, and those roles of previous years may also change.

The prospect of next year’s event abandoning the program and events that have become familiar to festival-goers in recent years should not be a concern, according to the mayor.

There was talk of music festivals and hot rod events; of different activities being staged across different weekends, rather than having one celebration on one weekend.

“As with all festivals and events there comes a time when they struggle to attract committee members and it’s not until they reach a crisis point that they evolve and take on some new characteristics,” Cr Thomson said.

“That has been the cycle of numerous festivals and events across the shire, and the Festival of the Falling Leaf is no different as hardworking committee members burn out from working incredibly hard over many years.”

Cr Thomson indicated on the night that she would have liked to have seen more at the meeting – two or three times more actually – but noted those who were there had a genuine interest in seeing the event continue and they would bring new ideas and new enthusiasm.

Council would provide a level of support for the committee but at the end of the day it must be a community owned and run event, Cr Thomson said. To be truly successful the community must want the event to go ahead and volunteer support will be essential.

“2014 will be the 60th anniversary of the festival and it would be good to see some recognition of the original committee and what the festival was set up to achieve, but it is also important for the new committee to be given the opportunity to reassess the program and develop new memories and new traditions,” the mayor said.

“Nomination forms are available for anyone interested in being part of the 2013-14 committee and I’d like to stress that people didn’t have to attend the public meeting to be eligible to nominate for the committee.”

Community members are encouraged to lodge the forms this week, with the council expected to call an extra-ordinary meeting next week to appoint the committee members.