Events policy warning

Fremantle BeerFest is on this weekend, but an events promoter has warned that unless Fremantle council gets a bit more generous under its events policy, the city might lose more events than it gains.

THE owner of an event management company says Fremantle council’s new commercial events policy doesn’t offer enough incentive and could see the city lose festivals to more generous neighbours. 

The council’s policy offers a 25 per cent discount in venue hire fees until June 2021 and a new booking process for hosts to ensure they don’t have clashing events.

Spirit Events director Chris Bennett said the policy failed to acknowledge the two-way relationship between event co-ordinators and the council, describing the short-term discount a “joke”.

Risk

“People who are holding events will be outlaying a huge amount of money in order to make a profit if it’s a commercial venture, so there has to be some kind of incentive for us as the risk takers and the creators of events,” Mr Bennett said.

“These organisations or these entities that look after venues want events to activate the spaces and bring people in to help their local traders, so they need to offer much better incentives than a 25 per cent discount for site fees.”

The policy is also designed to boost Freo’s reputation for having a vibrant culture in the hope that will attract a broader range of events. 

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Danicia Quinlan believes this will help transform Fremantle into a leading-edge destination.

“Nowhere else in the world will you find such a diverse fusion of local culture, fresh produce, Indigenous history, Victorian market streetscapes, quirky retail, history, arts, live music, small bars, hidden treasures and waterfront experiences,” she said.

“We don’t see there is any competition.”

But Mr Bennett says he’s more likely to think about practical things such as transport access and financial benefits when he’s booking an event and doesn’t believe the Freo culture would outweigh incentives offered by other councils.

“I see Fremantle as a destination that you need to travel to whereas other places like the city has easy access.”

by ELISE PAPADOPOFF

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