SPONSORSHIP WOES: This year’s Harbour Festival street parade, held on April 24, moves down Goondoon St.
SPONSORSHIP WOES: This year’s Harbour Festival street parade, held on April 24, moves down Goondoon St. David Sparkes GLAFEST

New sponsors needed as Rio reins in Harbour Festival cash

GLADSTONE'S Harbour Festival Street Parade has hit a barricade, losing its sponsor Rio Tinto Alcan.

Rotary Midday Gladstone has co-ordinated the parade for a number of years, and president Mark Frost said the loss of $10,000 sponsorship would be a blow.

"At the same time we've been advised by Festivals & Events that Queensland Police will be charging $6000 to $7000 for their presence, and that's a cost we've never faced before," Mr Frost said.

"So while we could cut other costs, any new sponsor would go a long way towards covering that additional cost.

"We'll try our best to make it happen, but we haven't budgeted anything like that amount."

The parade has a history going back more than 50 years, with more than 100 community groups involved last year. It's now run by the Midday Rotary volunteers with support from the SES.

"It takes more than a month worth of planning," Mr Frost said.

"Our club made maybe $1000 out of it last year out of sponsorships, but we provide a lot of support and services. Generally we are happy to break even and if there was any profit we simply donate that back into the community in some form or other anyway. "

He said if police removed the charge, the club would try to fundraise the difference.

"Otherwise, we really do need another sponsor - either way, I've got every confidence that it will go ahead, but it's a hurdle for sure."

Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and QAL have been active sponsors of the Gladstone Harbour Festival for many years but  now the parties along with Gladstone Festivals and Events will each seek new opportunities, according to a joint media release.

Community relations manager, Gladstone, Jeremy Hastings said: "As a long term industry partner in our community it gives us a great sense of pride to have been a part of growing the Gladstone Harbour Festival."

"The reality is, in the current economic climate, there is an opportunity for us to re-focus our energy and resources on areas of critical community need such as childcare and health."

"These events are only successful due to the hard work and dedication of the committee, festivals team and the many volunteers. We want to recognise all associated with the Festival for their efforts to make this event what it is today."

General manager of Gladstone Festivals and Events Michelle Stafford said although they are disappointed that Rio Tinto Alcan and QAL have decided not to continue their sponsorship, they want to thank them for their commitment over the years.

"We are actively seeking new sponsors for the Street Parade and Jazz'n Shiraz for the 2014 Gladstone Harbour Festival," she said.

"Our Festival plays a significant role in the lives of people living and working in our region. 

"Over the years it has helped build social cohesion by reinforcing ties between industry, local business and community".

Sponsorship agreements would need to be finalised by the end of October for these two events to continue as part of our community festival next year. 

Contact the festival office on 4972 5111 for further sponsorship information.