At the Annual General Meeting held today the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust was pleased to announce the best ever surplus of $121,602 for the latest two-year accounting period ending 30 June 2017. However it is to be noted that this does include one-off grants and donations of $43,000 which were used to assist with the costs of purchasing a share of the Crystal Palace. This surplus will be reinvested in future events and will also form a contingency for when bad weather or other unforeseen events impact on the festival.

The two-year reporting period covers Aspiring Conversations in 2016 and the Festival of Colour in April this year. Contributing factors to the increase in net profit included the one-off funds for the purchase of the Crystal Palace, slightly increased ticket prices and decreased event costs due to in part to ownership of a share of the Crystal Palace and sharing costs of performers with other festivals.

Chair, Hetty Van Hale thanked ‘cornerstone funders’ Creative New Zealand, Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu as well as all other businesses and individuals for their continued support.

She also made mention of the Trusts acquisition of a fifth share of the iconic venue the Pacific Crystal Palace which will secure its use for future years.

“The incredible support from our community, the breadth of programming, our experienced team and our beautiful setting ensure we continue to be regarded as one of the “best little festivals” in the country. Overall we are on very sound financial ground as we enter the planning stages for the next two festivals,” she said.

Festival Director, Philip Tremewan was not present at the meeting as he is currently attending a Festival in Germany, however he had noted in his report that “The festival is in good heart, we get such great feedback from audiences and performers alike – this festival is woven into the fabric of the community. We’ve set the bar high but we plan to keep our top-notch programming, our community participation, and to sustain a strong schools programme alongside the public programme.”

The financial health of the trust is enabling him to make firm plans for future events. He has already confirmed several keynote speakers for next April’s Aspiring Conversations and looking ahead to Festival of Colour 2019 with possible shows from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, collaborations with other New Zealand festivals and of course developing new commissions.

New Chair Appointed

At the board meeting following the AGM Hetty stepped down from the Chair and the board elected current co-chair Alistair King to the position of Chair.  Hetty has been Chair for the last three festivals and has done a wonderful job of driving the strategic direction of the festival. She will stay on the board of trustees but she believed it was important to keep the role of Chair fresh with new thinking and ideas. She paid tribute to her fellow trustees all of whom give of their time voluntarily, and the great work that the festival board and staff achieve.

Alistair is well known in Wanaka as a partner of Crowe Horwath and Chair of Ignite Wanaka, the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce. He has been on the Trust board since May 2016.