Save the Belgrave Lantern Festival

Save the Belgrave Lantern Festival

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Billy Crombie started this petition

What an AMAZING night the 2022 Belgrave Lantern Festival was! Will it happen again next year…we don’t know!!!

THE HISTORY OF THE LANTERN FESTIVAL

The Belgrave Lantern Festival has been a much-loved FREE community event for 15 years since 2007, with a 2 year break during Covid. It has grown to become the biggest evening ‘public’ event in the hills, this year attracting an estimated 10,000 festival goers. The event brings together local schools, kindergartens and community groups from all across the Hills, who come to participate. Lantern workshops are held in the lead up to the night, across the mountain and in homes – it’s exciting! Hills artists put in significant volunteer hours creating lantern masterpieces for the community to enjoy. It is an event that showcases the very best of the Hills community spirit and its creative underbelly.

WHO IS THE EVENT RUN BY?

Since 2019, the Belgrave Traders Association has been responsible for the running of the event. However, since Covid the Belgrave Traders Association has been in survival mode, with members needing to focus on the core goal of keeping their businesses afloat during exceptionally challenging times. The traders are today regathering and turning their attention to ‘all of township’ issues and concerns. There is enormous energy and goodwill to see Belgrave and other townships in the hills continue to thrive.  

Individual Belgrave Traders were not responsible for this year’s successful Lantern Festival, this is the achievement of a handful of people, many vastly underpaid and many not paid at all. Without their drive, passion and goodwill, the lantern festival would be another victim of Covid.

Our aim is to change at all that.

THE FINANCES OF THE LANTERN FESTIVAL & THE CHALLENGES AHEAD

The Lantern Festival runs on a skeleton budget, which limits its full potential.

This year’s festival cost $18.5k, of this:

$13k funded by Yarra Ranges Council,

$3k sponsored by Bendigo Bank and the balance gained from ‘old’ Belgrave Traders funds.

In addition, $10k of equipment was provided ‘in kind’ by a wonderful local production agency - OBG Productions. Then there are the hundreds of volunteer hours.

This is a big event, with big costs. Road closure and traffic management costs almost doubled this year. Which was a shock! This reduces the amount the event has to spend on the more creative enterprises, and the depth to which it can engage with the community.  

In its current form and level of funding, the Belgrave Lantern Festival may not continue in the future, nor potentially will other much-loved Belgrave events, including Halloween & Christmas.  These are events that unite our community and showcase Belgrave, the undisputed heart of the hills, to a much wider audience bringing with it economic and social benefits for our region, our township and for our community.

WHAT IS NEEDED:

We need a larger investment in this iconic event. We need people to be paid for their skills and contributions. With prices rising everywhere you look, we need to match those increases, and we need partners, funders, sponsors and the community to help support this event in a myriad of ways, if we are to keep it alive.

Volunteers will always be a much-valued contribution to the Lantern Festival but it cannot be a resource taken advantage of at the risk of the future of the Lantern Festival or at the risk of the safety of the general public.  

Sufficient funding, estimated at around $30k, would allow for the Belgrave Traders to run this festival professionally and safely.

It would enable us to employ a one day a week ‘Place Making Co-ordinator,’ to not only organise this production, but to significantly grow it by activating unique, unheralded areas of the township – making it an iconic event across the South Eastern suburbs. Believe me, people came from everywhere on Saturday!

We have a target – how do we get it over the line, together?

By SIGNING THE PETITION we can advocate to council, to funding bodies, to sponsors and community partners.

Your signature has the weight and power to make this happen.

Many thanks.

Billy Crombie (Babaji’s Kerala Kitchen)

Belgrave.

 

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