Poole explains festival call


Alwyn Poole

The man who pulled the pin on the Cambridge Festival of Sport last week still believes the concept can be a huge success.

Alwyn Poole outlined his dreams for the festival in Waikato Business News last week – but announced he had canned it soon after the paper hit the street.

Poole was readily available to discuss the decision when approached by The News this week.

He said it came down to funding being made available. Poole said he had put his house up as collateral for the event and believed he had an agreement with the BNZ.

But he said with a month to go and at a time when he wanted to pay up front for people who would be speaking or performing during the festival, the bank added extra condition.

“Throughout nine months I was really happy to carry all of the risk personally. The bank decision meant that others could be exposed to delayed payments, especially if the concert numbers did not fly through. To me that was unacceptable.”

He said he felt let down, but that it was “part of the learning” having invested about $100,000 of his own money into the event.

Mike King

He spent nine months planning it enjoyed great support from various organisations, including Mike King’s Gumboot Friday, he said.

He told Waikato Business News the model for the November 23-26 festival involved a music concert at the Claudelands Arena featuring Jason Kerrison, The Feelers and Cambridge band Pineja and a dinner featuring Rod Dixon at Tīeke Golf Estate alongside community events where people would pay to take part in different challenges. He had lined up Mahe Drysdale and Juliette Haigh as spokespeople for the event.

It was expected the festival and dinner would cover costs, school events would raise money for the host schools.

Poole, an education consultant, had undertaken to raise $10,000 for Mike King’s I am Hope mental health crusade every year but had expected the first festival might not make that much.

Last week’s Cambridge News featured a full page advert about the festival, outlining the events planned.

Poole said he did not like letting people down – but maintained despite his decision a high degree of goodwill remained.

He was still committed to the concept and believed it would work.

But he acknowledged the failure to get it off the ground this year had taken a toll on him.

“Not all things you do work, I talk to kids about recovering from failure – it’s not pleasant.

“Never say never again, if someone got behind it next year, I would be open to it.”

See: Festival fit for a king



About Author

Roy Pilott

Roy Pilott - the editorial director at Good Local Media - has worked in media in both New Zealand and the UK. He began his career at South Waikato News, worked for a football magazine and an east London tabloid, and later became the editor of the Waikato Times and Taranaki Daily News, and sub editor for the Sunday Star Times.