GM’s Log – March 2017

We’ve had a big month, there’s no denying!

It may seem a little poignant, when the last wooden boat sails out into the Derwent to make its way home, and crowds of happy patrons and their kids in their strollers begin to head up the hill and the banners start to come down and the musicians pack up their instruments after another successful MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, but in fact, that’s when we get down to work.  Our site crew and contractors are racing to pull down the infrastructure and return public spaces to their normal use.  We have containers to pack and exhibitions to close.  We have press releases to write and thousands of photographs to process and about a million ‘thank you’ letters to send out. Not to mention a stack of invoices to pay and dozens of reports to prepare.  It takes a good 4-6 weeks just to take care of the basics, before we can say ‘it’s over for another two years’.  And of course, we’ve already had our first early meetings to discuss the 2019 festival with the key players.

The action ‘behind the scenes’ is in many ways just as exciting as what the public sees and it is what brings back our army of volunteers and project leaders for every event.  We’re very proud of what we produce in our small capital city with a pretty waterfront, on an isolated island at the end of the earth.  Increasingly, people around the world have heard about, or experienced first hand what many say is the most exciting wooden boat festival in the world. “You have to get to Hobart” we hear more frequently in the magazines and web forums, “You won’t believe what they put on there”. That we present this show on as a free community event almost entirely run by volunteers is quite an amazing accomplishment when you think about it.  There are no gates, no tickets, no fences – it’s literally free for everyone.

Of course, electricity isn’t free, or equipment hire or portable toilets or stage lighting – and we need a lot of those things – but our generous sponsors in government, in the private sector and in the maritime community make it possible to undertake this major event.  Our exhibitors and vendors and community groups help, too, to generate the money we need for production and marketing and printing and a dozen other things.  Somehow, we make it happen and when it’s over, we generally have big, sleepy grins on our faces.

To our unbelievably loyal corps of AWBF volunteers, to our amazingly talented and hard-working project leaders, to our supportive all-volunteer Board, to the wonderful boat owners who contribute so much and to the hundreds of thousands of happy patrons who come to see us – thank you!  It’s been a great one.

Paul Cullen

General Manager

Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Inc.

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