Jumpers organisers' outrage at Gympie's copycat festival
JUMPERS and Jazz organisers have one clear message for the Gympie community - find your own festival.
While the Rose City was relishing the joys of our just-finished iconic festival, a copycat event was being held in Gympie.
The Winter Trees on Mary event kicked off on Wednesday night - bearing striking similarities to our much-loved yarn-bombing fest.
The competition event took Jumpers and Jazz festival organisers by surprise, including Destination Southern Downs interim general manager Tracy Vellacott.
Mrs Vellacott said she was gutted when she saw the Gympie festival on the news at the weekend.
"So many Warwick people have voiced their disgust at it," she said. "What if they have more money to put behind it? What happens to our festival then?
"Yarn bombing isn't a unique idea but the tree jumpers - that's an idea unique to this community."
Should we let Gympie get away with stealing our idea?
This poll ended on 28 August 2015.
No way! We worked too hard for our iconic festival.
Yes, they have a right to hold any event they like.
Yes, but only because it's amusing to watch Jumpers and Jazz eclipse their event.
I'm not sure.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Winter Trees on Mary came after a Gympie businessman approached his local council about holding a festival to "put the heart back into Mary St".
The Southern Downs Regional Council was approached by the Gympie Regional Council earlier this year about the legalities of tree jumpers - enquiries directed to Warwick Art Gallery director Karina Devine.
Mrs Devine said a parks staff member was asking about the logistics of the festival, in particular the tree jumpers.
"I expressed my disappointment that Gympie was planning on doing something similar," she said.
"I went on to explain we've been working on this festival for 12 years - that it's a major community project and signature tourism event.
"I heard nothing back from them."
Mrs Devine described the festival in Gympie as a "copycat", and said she was "frightened" every time she saw yarn bombed trees somewhere else.
"This copycat idea - they were running it at the same time as our festival, not far away from us in our audience catchment," she said.
"I understand yarn bombing is a big thing internationally but this was very close to our festival.
"You could really tell they went with the angle of rejuvenating the CBD."
Business owner and Jumpers and Jazz co-founder Lynn Bryson told the Daily News yesterday she was "sad" about the situation.
Mrs Bryson has challenged the Gympie festival organisers to come up with an original idea of their own.
"I'm not too happy about it - I think it's really sad and I know we can't stop them," she said.
"I'm sure if they thought hard enough they could come up with an original idea.
"People are looking for other things, they want to do different things - they could do something different."
Mrs Bryson even had a few suggestions of her own as to what they could do.
"They have the Gympie muster - why don't they carry that into Mary St?" she said.
"They could do something then - dress their trees if they have to and play country music in the main street."
Jumpers and Jazz festival organisers are now turning to higher powers to back them up and protect the Rose City's unique event.
"Is this worthy of a letter from our mayor to the mayor of Gympie?" Mrs Vellacott asked.
"Perhaps the local member could have a chat to their local member about it?"
Organisers will also look to the business community for support, with Mrs Devine intending to speak with the Warwick Chamber of Commerce.
"We're hoping to get our chamber of commerce on board," she said.
"Coming from the chamber of commerce is the best idea.
"We want them to ask the business community of Gympie to re-think the idea - it doesn't sound to me like it will be just a one-off event."
HOW THEY COMPARE
Jumpers and Jazz
- Started 12 years ago
- Draws $2.5 million to the local economy each year
- Held over 11 days
- More than 100 trees decorated
- Jam-packed calendar of events over the entire duration of festival
Winter Trees on Mary
- Started this year
- Held over 12 days
- 45 trees decorated
- Main event held on one night