Limited resources are the reason behind the cancellation of next year’s Junee Rhythm n Rail Festival.
The festival was set to return for its 11th year between March 8 – 10, 2019, but the small committee could not guarantee its success.
The Rhythm n Rail Association president Leasa Toll said it was “not fair” for the community to put on a mediocre festival.
“We have cancelled next year but it’s not the end and we hope to deliver a festival that is fair for the committee in 2020,” Ms Toll said.
“The unavailability to obtain a train because it is hot in March and also financial reasons were behind the cancellation.
“It’s not as simple as setting up a GoFundMe page, as a small committee of six with 40 members it’s a big job and unfortunately some people don’t see all the background work with big events.”
This year’s 10th anniversary of the festival transformed the small township of Junee into a hive of activity as up to 4000 people attended.
Ms Toll has been in the presidency role for just over two months and said next year the committee will look into the festival’s feasibility and whether it has to become an every-second-year event.
“It’s been rather rewarding but also frustrating because previous committee members have been able to get the festival out there, but this year we just haven’t been able to get it over the line,” she said.
“We’re still all coming to terms with this decision, which wasn’t made on the spur of the moment.”
Owner of the Junee Hotel Sue Deacon said she was “very surprised” to hear the festival won’t be returning until 2020.
“It’s quite a shock and I’ve been going every year and I think it will be a big loss for Junee and the tourism,” Mrs Deacon said.
Junee mayor Neil Smith said he was “initially disappointed” to hear that 2019’s festival had been cancelled, but supported the committee’s decision.
“It’s a big job and I know this as I was a committee chair member,” Cr Smith said.
“It’s a small team and they’ve soldiered on, but it’s come to a point where they need to take a break.
“Like a lot of these things, sometimes you need a crisis to get some rejuvenation, like Lockhart’s Spirit of the Land festival.”
Cr Smith said it was great the committee hasn’t “thrown in the towel” and was hopeful Junee would appreciate its efforts much more in 2020.
“The cancellation of the festival certainly won’t give us a positive boost, but it would be terrible to have a festival that is underdone and leaves people with a negative impact,” he said.
“It’s better that the committee takes a break and delivers a positive one the following year.”