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New format for Winter Magic 2019

We are writing this rather long update to assure you that the Winter Magic Festival will be returning on 22 June 2019 and are pleased to report that our recent call for expressions of interest for community arts projects was met with an enthusiastic response, meaning that we will be able to deliver a true community arts festival next year.
The Committee has spent considerable time exploring the options for our footprint and the costs of traffic management, which is the critical factor for us delivering a safe festival. In recent years traffic management costs have risen rapidly, as the festival footprint and crowds have grown, and previous committees have funded this by increasing stalls and reducing performers and the other elements that make the festival magical. This has become unsustainable and was the primary reason the previous committee put the festival into hiatus for 2018. The recent Council review process has not yet resulted in any funding commitment that will help us mount the festival in 2019. We have had to look at doing things differently.
In the past few months we have employed one of the most reputable traffic management companies in NSW and consulted with Council and the police to consider options and work out how the cost of various options for traffic management. Using the footprint from 2017 will cost at least $60,000 and this is an enormous amount of money – it means having a street full of stalls to pay for it, and that comes at the expense of the quality of the broader festival. Choosing a much smaller footprint, that involves closing only Katoomba Street, will reduce these costs to under $20,000 but that smaller footprint means there will be limits as to what we can do.
Our committee met on Monday and we have come to the difficult and emotional decision to accept those limits. We have consulted with a wide variety of community members and have resolved that we want a community arts festival and street party that showcases the talents of our local community, on Katoomba Street. We will relaunch Winter Magic, on a smaller footprint. We will reduce the number of stalls, and increase the space in the street to enable performers and people to move freely and safely. We will encourage costumes and art and music and the community arts projects we are supporting will provide colour and movement and sound that reflects our amazing creative community.
However, within this smaller footprint there is no room for the parade, or the space it requires at the beginning or the end. We have to tell you there will be no parade in 2019.
We know lots of people will be disappointed that the parade won't be running (although, in fairness, the parade doesn't appeal to everybody). We hope it won't be a permanent situation. Council will support us to do some longer-term strategic planning and we hope the Winter Magic Festival association will be able to build, year by year, and reconsider the parade in the future.
In the meantime, the committee is excited to be able to get on with making the festival happen. We will be assembling the team we need to deliver the festival shortly, and stallholder and performer applications will open by the end of the year. It is going to be wonderful – a bit different, but still Winter Magic.
We hope to see you at the AGM on 26 November.
Sincerely, Naomi Parry
President, Winter Magic Festival Inc
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