A total of more than $2 million had been lost on the first two Adelaide International Guitar Festivals in 2007 and 2008.
“Mr Rann, in typically understated fashion, had described the Festival as “the largest of its kind in the world” and “the next big WOMAD equivalent in Adelaide” and also went on to accept credit for the original discussions:
“That is basically how it came about. David Spelman was visiting WOMAD from New York. I was introduced to him and, as a result, I met him in New York, and we reached agreement for the New York Guitar Festival, which is regarded as the best in the world, to basically have a southern hemisphere incarnation in Adelaide.”
(Mike Rann, Hansard, 27 June 2007)
“Mr Greg Mackie, Acting Deputy CEO, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, today told the Budget and Finance Committee that the actual loss on the 2008 event was $1.06 million. This followed a reported loss of $1.02 million in the 2007 Festival,” Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
“Mr Mackie told the Committee that the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust (AFCT) had budgeted for about a $200,000 loss this year, but had ended up with the $1.06 million loss instead.”
“The decision to “cancel” or defer the 2009 Guitar Festival to 2010 had been confirmed and the AFCT would use the government grant of $500,000 for the 2009 Festival to pay some of the losses for the 2008 event.”
“The Guitar Festival was originally publicised to have 45,000 attendees, but the first Festival only attracted 16,300 paid attendances, and another 17,700 non-paid attendances.”
“The Budget and Finance Committee has sought details of similar figures for the 2008 Guitar Festival together with the details of administrative costs for the event, including contract details of new Festival Director Mr Slava Grigoryan.”
“As Mr Rann has claimed the original credit for the idea of this event, he now has to accept the responsibility for the $2 million-plus in losses.”
“This is especially so after the Rann Government claimed it had learnt the lessons of the first $1 million loss on the 2007 Guitar Festival.”
“This is a disastrous result for taxpayers and a major personal embarrassment for Mr Rann,” he said.