Walhalla Festival of Lights cancelled due to funding failure

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Walhalla Festival of Lights otherwise known as the Walhalla Vinter Ljusfest

Walhalla’s annual Vinter Ljusfest has been cancelled six weeks prior because organisers were unable to generate the necessary funding on time. 

President of Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Tourism, Michael Leaney, said organisers were unable to generate $10,000 in funding needed to put on the festival citing indecision from the state government and council as the reason.

“We’ve had funding applications in with both local and State Government for months and months and months,” he said.

“Those funding applications, there have been no decision on and we had to draw a line in the sand because we’re now six weeks out from the event and the decision was made that we can’t proceed with the 2016 event.”

“We physically cannot put on an event if we don’t have money in advance to be able to pay for things, to be able to pay our insurances.”

However, Baw Baw Shire Mayor Joe Gauci said council had only recently received the application requesting funding for the event.

“The organisers of the event applied for the sponsorship on the 30th of May”, Mr Gauci said.

“We were under the impression that he’d informed us that as long as he had an answer by the 30th of June we’d be able to sort of help him out.”

“That changed and an answer was needed this week, and it hasn’t been assessed.

Mr Gauci said proper preparation is proper protocol associated with running community based events must be adhered to.

“You can’t just throw money because somebody needs info right this very minute.”

“You can’t fast-track a particular event for the sake that they need to know information right there and now.”

“Now it’s unfortunate that this hasn’t worked out for the timing of the event for this year, and that is an unfortunate process, it is a great event from what we’ve been told but processes have got to be done.”

Walhalla and Mountain River Tourism’s event has been held for five years in August and attracted a record 5,000 people last year.

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