Evening in Hobart at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Photo: Bruce Smart. Lord Mayor Sue Hickey was on point recently at Princes Wharf One to greet the UK tall ship Tenacious on its maiden visit to the Port of Hobart. It was a mark of respect appropriate to a ship that has sailed half way around the world to spend a sailing season in Australian waters and attend the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February. Hobart City Council has done more than that, however, where it counts – in practical support for an event that draws tens of thousands of visitors from interstate and overseas. Chairman Steve Knight was there, too, to welcome the largest wooden ship built in the UK in the last 100 years on behalf of the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
In the most recent round of grants for Major Events, Hobart City Council aldermen voted to increase cash and in-kind support for this popular free public event. ‘In-kind support is just as important as cash’, said General Manager Paul Cullen, ‘Not just because we save money on certain kinds of equipment, but because often, the Council is the only source of that equipment and the people who know how to use it.’ Examples include essential street furniture like shade umbrellas, washing stations and street-sweeping machines as well as festival infrastructure such as the 300 table and bench settings that will be needed to provide comfortable places for festival-goers to enjoy a rest and a bite to eat.
‘We are very grateful for the Council’s support and we work together with their event and on-the-ground staff. They are very professional and are terrifically helpful when it comes to facilitating support so our team can safely accommodate 220,000 visitors.’ says Production Manager Andrew Brassington. ‘There are now so many festival events on the Hobart calendar that nothing fazes them: giant dragon parades, husky races, and skating rinks – they take it all in their stride.’
‘There’s genuine enthusiasm for a new tourism economy that sees the City of Hobart building a reputation for exciting, professionally produced public events of a quality that would not be out of place in London or New York’, Cullen says. ‘The Hobart City Council seems to get that, in a satisfying way. We still have to do things by the book, but there is a willingness to get excited, to make things happen and to allow some creative madness into the mix. Festivals thrive on that.’
‘TasPorts is another festival partner that provides fantastic ‘can do’ support. Where else in the world would you find a Port Authority that can turn over the entire waterfront to events like the Sydney to Hobart and the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and still manage ferries, freight, enormous cruise ships and a commercial fishing fleet all at the same time? Fair play to them, they know what they are doing!’