GRIFFITH Business Chamber has dropped plans to take on La Festa after it called on council to bail out the embattled festival.
Chamber executives had tentatively considered a plan to take over the festival and bring it back to the main street – using the profits to fund a full-time CEO for the chamber.
But chamber president Paul Pierotti said that would mean significant structural change and it was not chamber’s position to be running community events.
The future of the festival is looking brighter after last Wednesday night’s annual general meeting but La Festa committee chairman Councillor Doug Curran has urged the business chamber to combine forces with the committee rather than work against it.
The AGM saw an additional 12 volunteers sign up to the committee with the remaining 10 newcomers to the meeting added to the “friends of La Festa” mailing list to help out in times of need.
From here, Cr Curran said the reinvigorated committee would investigate ways of generating revenue after last year’s event ran at a disappointing $19,000 loss.
“That’s not sustainable,” Mr Curran said.
“We need to increase sponsorship, secure grant funding and look at gate fees and also reduce expenses wherever we can.”
Mr Curran said discussion over returning La Festa to Banna Avenue had surfaced at the meeting but he had put forth the case why it could not – and that decision would be left to the new committee.
However, Cr Curran was keen to incorporate the main street into the La Festa activities – including the possibility of reintroducing the parade – and urged Griffith Business Chamber to help out.
“We should do something in the main street that goes hand-in-hand with La Festa,” Cr Curran said.
“Chamber has in the past co-ordinated the Side Walk Sale and busking competition and that has worked to enhance the event.”
But Griffith Business Chamber vice president Pat Pittavino said it was not chamber’s place to organise the event – which he felt should be run in the main street – and he would “sit back and let them run with it”.
“I feel it is a community event, not a business event,” Mr Pittavino said.
“But I hope they do well.”
Mr Pierotti said chamber was willing to help “add value” to the important community event but he felt it was council’s place to provide assistance to the La Festa committee.
Mr Pierotti commended Cr Curran on his efforts with the event and urged other interested parties to get on board.