Rotorua’s failed Mudtopia Festival has been axed after organisers voted to wash their hands of the controversial event.
At a meeting of Rotorua Lakes Council on Thursday councillors’ voted to back recommendations not to stage further Mudtopia festivals.
The festival was dogged by controversy from the start over the revelation taxpayers’ would be on the hook for a $90,000 bill to import mud from Korea.
Yep Rotorua was importing mud as their local mud wasn’t up to it!
A number of councillors’ cited the media storm over the mud import, and fears of foot and mouth contamination, for driving a stake through the heart of the event.
“Sadly the event was tainted by controversy and corporate hands stayed in their pockets,” said Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson.
So it’s all the fault of the opponents and corporates who didn’t donate. Not the fault of the Council.
A number of councillors’ claimed the event was “sabotaged” and “hijacked”.
“We were whipped into a lather on the mud,” Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said.
She said the event, if allowed to grow, would have been a perfect fit for Rotorua’s spa, health and wellness tourism offerings. She also took a swipe at some fellow councillors.
“There were those dying to see this fail and they’re sitting around this table.”
Councillor Rob Kent, however, was scathing.
“We gambled and we lost,” he said.
“We should leave this to those who know what they’re doing, because on this basis we don’t.”
So Steve Chadwick thinks the event could have been hugely successful and grown huge. So presumably this one broke even or came close to it right?
Council acting group operations manager Henry Weston was also forced into an admission under questioning from Kent.
He cited the report into Mudtopia which revealed a $570,387 loss and a further $170,000 incurred in capital expenses, asking how this was allowed to balloon beyond the initial $500,000 underwrite limit.
They lost $740,000 on it!!!!
He also confirmed that the $170,000 spend meant council was now in possession of a number of inflatables.
Well that’s something.
The report also revealed only 1500 tickets were sold, with 12,000 tickets were given away to residents and 3000 to sponsors and suppliers.
So 90% of the tickets were giveaways!