The Swiss Italian Festa, which celebrates the rich history and tradition of the Swiss Italian immigrants to the local area, will not be held in 2022.
The Festa Committee started 2022 with great hopes for a Festa in October. They had managed to get a small on-line Festa up and running in 2021 which included COVID-safe events including the Landscape Art Show and a brand new tour of Hepburn’s Swiss Italian sights with Alice’s Journeys. The Festa Director from 2021 had agreed to continue into 2022 and things were looking good for a full blown Festa. Unfortunately, in the early months of 2022, the Festa Director advised the Committee that she would no longer be available as she was moving from the district. The Committee commenced looking for a replacement Festa Director but with no success at the end of June, and despite much discussion in the following weeks, the committee made the decision to cancel Festa 2022.
The Swiss Italian Festa has been traditionally held in October. However, a hiatus of 4 years followed by 2 years of COVID restrictions has made it difficult for the organising committee to generate momentum. This means it’s not easy for the Festa Committee to have to announce that there will not be a Festa in 2022 either.
Festa Committee President, Robyn Rogers, said that the Committee was deeply disappointed at having to cancel but it was virtually impossible for the members of the Committee to try to run a successful Festa themselves. “It’s not easy for the Festa Committee to have to announce that there will not be a Festa in 2022,” said Robyn. “The Committee is only made up of five people, the majority of whom work full time. We don’t have enough experience, industry knowledge or contacts to pull off a full blown Festa on our own.”
“We really need an experienced Festa Director to ensure success and unfortunately we weren’t able to offer enough money to attract the right person – in fact we only attracted one enquiry.”
The Festa received grants from Visit Victoria, Hepburn Shire Council, Multi-Cultural Victoria, Community Bank Daylesford District and Regional Arts Victoria. However these grants were used for marketing, advertising and sponsoring specific events. “It is incumbent on the Committee to use the grants according to their terms and conditions, which is absolutely as it should be. However, none of these organsations offer grants to employ an experienced festival director – in fact, most grants state specifically they cannot be used for salaries. The irony is that without an experienced person running a festival, the chances of success substantially diminish – Catch 22.”
The Festa Committee, is having ongoing discussions with grant providers and has agreed to meet again in late 2022 to determine next steps. However the problem of being able to pay an experienced Festa Director will remain.
The Committee is very interested in getting more support locally in the form of Committee members, willing supporters who can take on specific tasks as part of the Festa and as sponsors. If you feel you can offer assistance, contact the organisers by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.