It’s been a pretty hectic week that started with rumours on Twitter that the Cape Town Bike Festival had been cancelled and culminated with official announcements made both online and on 567 Cape Talk. It came as a shock to many of us as we had only recently been contracted to provide services to the festival and just didn’t see it coming.
We had an agreement with CTBF CEO De Wet Du Plessis to control all of the stadium bars on behalf of the festival, as well as looking after liquor sponsor’s stalls in the “Flavours of the Cape” Craft Village and put together a large wine tent consisting of at least 8 wine farms. We had managed to secure one of the local microbreweries as the main pouring beer of the event which we saw as quite a positive movement in the Real Beer Revolution.
We tried to find out from the City of Cape Town what their role was in the cancellation of this event, but haven’t had a response as yet. Though the more we have heard from the CTBF offices and of course from De Wet’s interview, the clearer the story has become.
The CTBF couldn’t secure enough sponsorship and ticket sales through their offices, and Computicket proved to be too slow to ensure that everyone involved would turn a profit. It takes big balls to cancel an event that’s 9 days away, but De Wet realised the time to make a decision was now before he was put in a situation where he would no longer be able to pay back ticket holders and vendors if the event failed. It was a big decision to make and De Wet stood tall and let the hammer fall.
There are a number of vendors who are seriously pissed off and threats have been doing the email rounds, but I think that he has handled it well by offering to pay back all tickets and fees paid to the festival by vendors. He can’t be expected to pay for potential loss of earnings, or the funds we have all paid out in getting ourselves ready for this event, because in De Wet’s own words, “there is also a downside to doing business , not just an upside of profit and in my case it is R5m. Having said that, I know that I did the right thing by cancelling CTBF , when I realised that we may not get the numbers to make it viable. Had I not done that your criticism would have been valid. I am not unsympathetic to your loss of opportunity , but I don’t think it fair to blame me if you don’t like the rules. Don’t play the game.”
The Cape Town Bike Festival would’ve been a great event to end the year off with. It would’ve been a great event for Cape Town. But at the same time I am sure that if any other person had been in charge of this mega project, many people could’ve had a bleak Christmas considering the losses they could have made. We need to ensure that if we want big events to come to the city that we support them, promote them between friends, and most of all, purchase tickets in advance to show sponsors that we do support and want events which will then give them enough exposure to make their investment worth-while.