Launtel pulls out of sponsoring Festivale 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we’ve decided that Launtel will not be sponsoring the free wifi at the next Festivale event in Jan/Feb 2020.

We’ve provided Festivale with free wifi for the last three years and we’ve very much enjoyed growing and improving with Festivale. The 2019 event was extremely successful to the point that on the Saturday night, the gates had to be closed – declaring for the first time ever that the event was full.

While Festivale draws people from all over Australia and even the world, it’s still very much a locally organised event, enjoying a lot of support and sponsorship by many local Launceston businesses including ourselves.

One of the things we love about Launceston is its community. People are not anonymous here, most of the people in the business community know each other and have worked with each other for many years, developing and deepening their relationships. One of things you cannot do in Launceston is burn relationships and expect there to be no consequences.

It was thus with great surprise that we learned that two of our friends and customers, both long standing marketing supporters and sponsors of Festivale, Effective Naturally and Walker Designs, were told by the Festivale Committee that they had a week to prepare a substantial Expression of Interest (EOI) document to provide marketing services for the next 2020 event. Despite their past relationship (and apparently successful performance), they were asked to start a tender process from scratch with very little notice. It’s unclear to us why it was done this way, with no prior warning. Both companies declined due to this short notice and thus will not be providing their services for the 2020 event.

Frankly this is not the sort of behaviour we expect to see from the Festivale Committee. It may be normal, corporate style, cut-throat behaviour in the major cities, but not in Launceston and certainly not in a community event such as Festivale. We understand we are talking about business here, however businesses are filled with real people. People form relationships with people, often long standing ones, not businesses. 

The treatment of our two friends has caused us to question our relationship with Festivale. Our sponsorship of Festivale was because we wanted to contribute to the community in what is clearly a fantastic event. Sure we got exposure and marketing from it, but nothing that we couldn’t get much, much cheaper elsewhere.We had hoped to have a long continued relationship with Festivale, but we now wonder if actually we’re just a source of sponsorship dollars (or services in kind) to the committee – to be discarded when no longer useful to them.

We understand that a new marketing company, Purpose Marketing, whose owner is the partner of the Chairman of the Festivale Committee, has been appointed and so we don’t expect this decision to be reversed. One can’t help but wonder if the new appointment has been somewhat unethical and a conflict of interest. We have decided that we no longer want to be part of an event that treats its supporters and sponsors this way.

Damian Ivereigh
13th September 2019