Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music organisers have welcomed a backflip by the state coalition government on its recent decision to end its annual $10,000 grant towards the cost of staging the region’s premier cultural event.
The Tweed Echo on January 26 revealed how the grant from Arts NSW to the 2012 festival had been cut, placing an unexpected and enormous financial burden on the event, now in its 21st year.
During the four terms of the NSW Labor government, the festival had received the annual contribution of up to $10,000, making it possible to pay fees for top-line performers.
The cut came as a severe blow to organisers of the festival, who mainly work on a voluntary basis.
But this week festival co-ordinator Alexsandra Wilkinson learnt that arts minister George Souris had reversed the decision to cut its funding after lobbying by local National Party MPs Thomas George (Lismore), local government minister Don Page (Ballina) and Geoff Provest (Tweed).
Ms Wilkinson said the three had worked together to approach Mr Souris to let him know the event was important to the region and ‘far more than a small gathering in a small rural village’.
‘Of course we are very happy with the decision, but there is still a long road ahead to ensure continuing financial success,’ she said.
‘Our main objective still is to make the festival, and all the other events we present through the year, financially viable, as well as sustainable.
‘Costs continue to go up, and our income is made up entirely of concert bookings, business and corporate support and of course, grants. The latter generally involve an extremely time-consuming process, and of course after the funds are received and spent the acquittal process is almost as arduous as the funding application itself.’
Ms Wilkinson said the $10,000 from Arts NSW covers around 40 per cent of the budgeted artist expenses, so ‘our cash reserves will not have to cover the funding shortfall’.
‘Our program for this year was never in doubt as, by necessity, it must be confirmed by the middle of the year before and we are committed to providing the superb musical performances for which the festival is renowned, and what our audiences justifiably expect.’
To check out this year’s program visit www.tyalgumfestival.com.au.