FolkWorld Update on Fairbridge Festival
Read our latest announcement dated 21 November 2022, here.
FolkWorld staff had been planning the 2023 festival in line with the normal project schedule and our existing venue hire agreement with Fairbridge WA. Since the last festival, both organisations had engaged new staff and liaison early in the festival planning process began.
In July, we were advised by Fairbridge WA that access and audience numbers in the Village would need to be reduced, as they had concerns about the biosecurity measures on neighbouring land that we usually use for camping and parking. However, we managed to adapt our plans to these initial circumstances.
In a September meeting, the new management of Fairbridge WA mentioned the ageing infrastructure (e.g. roads, buildings, sewerage) had difficulties with large crowds. At this stage it was our mutual understanding that a reduced capacity festival could still be possible for 2023.
FolkWorld provided a public update in October flagging the challenges in confirming the festival venue with Fairbridge WA.
In November a meeting took place as requested by FolkWorld. At the meeting Fairbridge WA agreed to make the venue available for a reduced capacity festival in 2023 and to clarify the conditions in a written response.
When a written response from Fairbridge WA was received, it outlined venue hire conditions, several of which were in addition to those previously understood. Also, the correspondence disclosed that going forward Fairbridge WA planned to focus on its core business of education and tourism, making the village no longer available for events like ours after 2023. During the decision-making process, the FolkWorld board assessed the venue hire terms offered and the new risks presented, explored a wide range of potential solutions and consulted extensively with FolkWorld staff as well as other key stakeholders.
What are the impacts of the biosecurity measures?
In order to help protect regional farming communities from Foot and Mouth Disease, the farmland surrounding the Fairbridge Village is currently not available for public use. Not being able to use these areas for our festival would reduce the campsite and parking areas normally available.
However, in addition to those restrictions, Fairbridge WA Inc. is limiting access and numbers in the village area itself, to reduce strain on roads and sewerage; the biosecurity controls are a secondary issue. The landowner of the farm has been helpful in working with us to find solutions.
What about future festivals at Fairbridge Village?
Fairbridge WA management have advised us that, in order to protect the ageing infrastructure such as roads and sewerage, it does not plan to continue making the village available for hire to large groups such as festivals. FolkWorld understands this reason and offered to jointly seek solutions given our longstanding relationship.
Why was this decision made now?
We were really hoping we could find a way to keep holding the festival at Fairbridge Village. However, Fairbridge WA only recently advised us of its plan to no longer make the village available for large groups, like Fairbridge Festival, and of the latest hire conditions.
We worked with Fairbridge WA to try and find a way to proceed with the festival, as we had already spent a lot of time and effort planning it. Unfortunately, we felt it was too risky to proceed and we should instead start planning the 2024 festival once the new location is confirmed.
Why was the 2023 festival cancelled and what does this mean for FolkWorld?
The board’s comprehensive decision-making process concluded that the risks of proceeding, particularly given the short notice, were unfortunately too high and efforts were better spent finding another long-term venue for the festival, our flagship event. The board reluctantly decided to cancel the festival that was being planned for April 2023.
Following the October announcement, FolkWorld received strong messages of support as well as several expressions of interest from alternative venue providers, which we are now considering.
Changing venue at some point in time had been anticipated since 2010, which is why in 2011, the name of the not-for-profit organisation became FolkWorld Inc. The search for a new venue is underway and plans to hold our much-loved festival in April 2024 will be developed.
Meanwhile, FolkWorld plans to continue hosting the Quest song-writing competition, hold performances in the metropolitan area and continue organising our members’ social gatherings.
What about refunds for tickets?
The cancellation announcement was made before ticket sales began.
FolkWorld is looking forward to continue hosting community folk and global music celebrations. At its new location, the Festival will remain an accessible family friendly camping, folk and global music event.
With the help of our membership, FolkWorld is updating our strategic plan to ensure the festival keeps thriving and we continue to be able to enjoy the same wonderful sense of inspiration and cultural exploration together through sharing music in an inclusive community setting.
The National Folk Festival is also looking for a new home. Could the festivals merge?
We work closely with all of our folk music festival colleagues, including the National. At this stage, FolkWorld is focusing exclusively on finding a new home for staging our next festival rather than changing the recipe that’s made it so successful for so long and gives it such a bright future.
Where will the new festival be located?
We are not certain of the new location yet. We are looking for a venue that is readily accessible from Perth and welcoming of a long-term partnership with our community festival.
How can I help?
Thank you for asking! Join us and take a front-row seat as our festival continues to evolve by:
- Becoming a FolkWorld member – more info coming soon
- Come along to the next festival and our other events – more info coming soon
- Make a tax-deductible donation to FolkWorld Inc. the organisers of Fairbridge Festival – a not-for-profit organisation. Funding will go towards performing artists.
- Share your ideas with us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow us on social media and let us know what most interests you – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Join the family by signing up to our newsletter for all the latest news about future plans and exciting opportunities for us to come together.
I’ve got another question
Please email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon we can.