Organizers feel new town festival model eliminates the need for them
After two years, the Weddstock festival will shut its gates for good. Festival organizers spoke during the public comments section of the Monday, Feb. 13 Weddington town council meeting, saying that the town’s Parks and Recreation Board made it clear there wasn’t a need for them anymore.
“Because of the new funding requirements the town has chosen, there is no longer a need for a charity to be involved,” organizer Lisa Tonetti said.
In January, the Weddington town council had instructed the Parks and Recreation Board to look at private ways of funding the festival, to avoid local tax dollars being spent. Members of the Kids First charity questioned if the town, which had acted as a sponsor, but not a managing partner of the festival, was allowed to solicit donations for a private event. Parks and Recreation board members said instead of a festival, the town might consider holding a fair, with booths run by and paid for by individual families and organizations.
Event organizers said with the town going in another direction, they decided it was best to pull the plug.
“An event of this magnitude required all 10 members to work like gears with a lot of moving parts, and when we put it all together, we made an incredible machine,” Sue Finch, another Weddstock committee member, said in a press release after the town council meeting. “It will be bittersweet to leave the Weddstock event and name behind, considering how much fun we all had putting it together, but we will take the lessons learned and our incredible team and eagerly look forward to future ventures together.”
More than 5,000 people from two counties came out to the 2011 Weddstock event, which raised money for six charity groups. According to information event organizers provided to the town, the 2011 festival cost $201,572.92 to hold, paid for with $168,290 in in-kind donations, with remaining expenses of $33,282.92. During the day, Weddstock officials collected $47,575.73.
Since the Weddstock name was created by the committee and Kids First charity, it’s owned by the charity and not the town. Officials from Kids First said in the press release that they would not use it or allow it to be used in any future projects with the town.