THE question of where the $200,000 of funding handed to Daylesford Macedon Ranges Tourism by Visit Victoria for its inaugural Live. Love. Life festival could be answered by the end of the week as a report into what went wrong is set to be released.
Most of the funding for the cancelled festival went towards outsourcing its governance to public relations firm Flourish PR after DMR Tourism’s former chief Judith Isherwood stepped aside, while the remainder of the funding went towards marketing the festival.
DMR Tourism chair Noel Harvey said the organisation’s decision to take out full page advertising in Virgin Airline’s in-flight magazine was part of a bigger marketing plan.
“We have an ongoing relationship with Virgin. We promote our region quite a bit through their magazine and have a couple of deals going. As part of that arrangement, we also decided to promote the festival.”
He said he could not determine the cost of this advertising because of the ongoing relationship.
Another expensive marketing ploy was 500 t-shirts on which original David Bromley artwork was printed.
New DMR chief Steve Wroe said about a quarter of the shirts had been sold but he could not yet confirm the cost.
He said the remainder of the shirts would be sold to offset their cost.
Mr Wroe said ticket sales had been refunded but his main objective was to rebuild relationships with community groups to re-establish the trust in and reputation of DMR, as well as working more closely with tourism operators, Hepburn and Macedon councils and Visit Victoria.
“Even though the festival has hurt us financially, I have honoured my commitments to those who were involved in the original festival.
“For me, relationships and supporting organisations and community businesses is a top priority. I am reaching out to partners, stakeholders and small businesses to find out what they really need from us as a tourism board.”