When word spread that the snap COVID-19 lockdown forced Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival organisers to cancel just minutes after opening, the community started to rally.
Many were asking what they could do to help organisers, (not-for-profit) Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) and vendors who have suffered significant losses.
MBRIT Chairman Shane Newcombe says his team is devastated they had to shut the festival site down 13 minutes after opening following a successful free Friday night launch party which gave the community a taste of what was to come.
“We know that we're not alone and so many can relate to the devastating impact COVID-19 is having, not only financially but emotionally. The financial impact is significant, but the emotional toll is much greater,” Mr Newcombe says.
“Our incredible #TeamMoretonBay has been working tirelessly for months to deliver a world-class seaside food and wine festival, set to be enjoyed by 30,000+ foodies from all over SEQ.”
By the time the lockdown was announced, the festival site was fully operational.
“This means, that from this moment we were responsible for 100 per cent of the operational costs including theming, hire equipment, infrastructure, and staffing not to mention marketing costs already incurred,” Mr Newcombe explains.
Despite this, MBRIT has committed to providing vendors and market stalls full refund of their stall fees and will pay the chefs, entertainers and musicians their fees in full.
“These expenses to the festival are significant, especially without any of the projected income to offset these costs,” Mr Newcombe says.
Many people have asked how they can support the festival and have refused a refund, instead opting to donate the ticket price to MBRIT.
Anyone who would like to do this, needs to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their full name and ticket number (if they have it) by 4pm Wednesday, August 4. Otherwise, they will be issued a full refund in the coming days, minus the booking fee collected by Eventbrite (the ticketing provider).
MBRIT has also created an online portal listing all the vendors and producers involved with the festival to give people the chance to support them direct. Find the list here
While there wasn’t an opportunity to create memories at this year’s Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, souvenirs and flavours of the festival are for sale.
Nutworks created Moreton Bay bug-flavoured macadamia nuts especially for the festival and has about 1000 bags for sale.
The nuts along with reusable festival cups and drink coolers are available online for purchase. Head here for details.
Mr Newcombe says the support his team has received during the past few days has been nothing short of incredible.
“To our ticket holders, thank you for purchasing a ticket to what was guaranteed to be a fun-filled weekend. We’re sorry you didn’t get the opportunity to experience all the delicious fun we had in store – we promise we’re just as disappointed as you,” he says.
“To our incredible vendors and stallholders, thank you for your kind words and understanding, especially when you were hurting. Together, we created one hell of a festival, and when things went incredibly wrong, even amongst the tears, there was a real sense of camaraderie and community onsite. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
“To our sponsors and the general community, we’ve been blown away by your support and ongoing messages of good wishes. Many of you are refusing refunds to support the loss of income. We’re so proud to call this region and our community home.”
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