Festival postponed

TIM EDMUNDSAlbany Advertiser

The annual Vintage Blues Festival will undergo a marketing review after Wignalls Wines announced the festival would be postponed for a year after experiencing challenging market conditions in recent years.

Competing festivals and dwindling attendance numbers over the past two festivals led to yesterday’s official announcement by Wignalls Wines managing director and festival organiser Rob Wignall.

Mr Wignall said it was with “profound regret” the 2014 festival would be postponed until January 10, 2015 to ensure the long-term viability of the event.

He said the festival review would include targeting new demographics and returning the festival to “its roots” by unearthing and showcasing new talent.

“This has been a large and difficult decision to make for the Wignall family, and realise that the postponement will have a profound effect on the entire community and especially tourism related industries,” Mr Wignall said.

“In what would have been its 18th consecutive year, the event continues to be an iconic major drawcard on the Albany events calendar and it is important that we ensure that the Vintage Blues Festival is around for many years to come.”

The festival has also suffered major cost escalations from production, insurance and bands, and Mr Wignall said all would be reviewed with the help of an outside marketing consultant.

“It has taken about two to three months to come to this decision,” he said.

“The review will also address funding options and how the Vintage Blues Festival can garner greater support and work more closely with local tourism, council and event operators.”

The Vintage Blues Festival has played a significant part in the careers of celebrated musicians such as John Butler, The Waifs, and Kasey Chambers who emerged on the Australian music scene after first appearing at the festival in previous years.

Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Russ Clark said it was important the event returned with a “point of difference”.

“It will have an impact as it will take away another iconic event away from the Great Southern for this year only, but I’m sure that Rob and the team at Wignalls have made the right decision,” he said.

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