Below is the official release…
I posed a few questions, for now:
Are you paying outstanding creditors, if so, when?
Are you refunding exhibitors, if so, when?
What steps did you take to properly secure funding?
Why did you incur credit without having the funds available?
AN OFFICIAL RELEASE FOR THE CANCELLATION OF THE SA VODKA FESTIVAL 2013
Date: 04 November 2013
The SA Vodka Festival team and the managing company, Monyetla Communication and Events deeply apologise to the City of Cape Town, The Waterfront – Look Out, Cape Town Media, our partners, exhibitors as well as everyone else who had made time to participate and attend the scheduled events.
We would like to take this opportunity to explain the reason behind the cancellation of the SA Vodka Festival.
It is first important to note that the cancellation was in no way the fault of the V&A Waterfront, Look Out. They had met their end of the deal. There were just not enough funds to run the event.
Planning and organising this event was one of the greatest things that has ever happened for the team and the company. Honestly, it was also one of the toughest, experimental and educational assignments that we have ever taken on. Who could have thought of South Africans venturing into vodka exhibition when the spirit has for many years been associated with Russians? We have no doubt that the concept, timing, structure and implementation of the event was proper and well planned; that we can see by the results and the support that has been received from the stakeholders, the media and the public.
Proper consultation was made with the relevant industry stake holders including the country’s house hold vodka brands however, most couldn’t partake due to budget constraints or wanting to see how the event goes this year so that they can participate next year. That however, didn’t really stop us because with prior research that was done, we knew that there were a number of good and international vodka brands there have just came into our country but didn’t receive enough publicity for vodka lovers to know about them.
Since we couldn’t land sponsorship or any monetary partnership, it was clear that we had to source funding elsewhere thus finding a way to involve the nationally unknown vodka brands without chasing them away with the rental costs. Given the situation, the only option that we had was finding a private investor, of which we did and little did we know that it was just an empty promise that would land us where we are today.
Even though funds were not in our possession yet, we were assured that it was safe to carry on with organising the event. We then went ahead and proposed to the brand managers and distributors to participate in the event, and we received quite a good response. Even when some of the exhibitors paid for their space rentals, most did not, but at that time it didn’t seem to be a problem as we were certain that there was enough financial capacity to leverage the organising of the event.
Hundreds of thousands of Rands were needed to run the event, but only about a quarter of that was available, which was from our own pockets and the exhibitors fees. We are grateful for the trade exchange deals we received from The Hyde Hotel and Rikki’s cabs which helped to also cut costs. The rest of the funding was supposed to come from the private investor who disappeared on us at the eleventh hour.
Yes, the last minute cancellation could have been avoided, but with the response we were getting from the media and the public, it was crucial that we somehow make the event happen, no matter what. We then took it upon ourselves to find another investor who made it clear that they could only have the funds available on the week of the event. We then communicated the new developments with the venue, which is why they let our exhibitors setup even when payment hadn’t yet been made. This was very generous on their part. Unfortunately the second investor’s funds never came through on time and were only received two days after the cancellation of the event.
I guess someone will jump to saying that we are unprofessional and disorganised, but the truth of the matter is that anyone in our situation would have done all they can to save the situation. We were too deep into it and cancelling the event was not an option. We however realise and agree that we should have cut ours, the exhibitors and everyone else’s losses when there was still time. We are truly sorry about that.
The vodka exhibition is the one thing that South Africa has been waiting to see for quite a long time. It does not have to be a failure and with enough financial support we can give South Africans the benefit for education and experience about their favourite vodka brands.
With no doubt, we successfully hosted activations and ran social media campaigns which brought us a lot of publicity; which also gave some brands that were not participating time to take notice and this led to some calling us at the last minute wanting to partake in the event.
Instead of anyone being glad they didn’t take part in the exhibition, they should be glad it didn’t happen without them. Now more than ever, everyone is waiting anxiously to know what next is going to happen with the SA Vodka Festival and all we can say is that we are coming back and the SA Vodka Festival will take place in 2014. We have learnt a lot from the mishaps of this year and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to all. We will not let you down again.
If anyone knows a good thing when they see one, then I think they should know what a good thing The SA Vodka Festival has come to be. Take this opportunity and help us build what can be our country’s next biggest exhibition event. At least we owe that to Cape Town and the rest of the country.
Giving thanks to The Hyde Hotel, Rikki’s Cabs, Plush, Ice Art, Mica Bella, Lindt Chocolate, Bartenders Workshop, The lookout, Computicket, City Slicker, F Fashion, F Vodka, KWV, Primitiv, GTV, Bear Hug, Nemiroff, Cynergy, Le grand saint, DQ Vodka, Soof.k The Trendspotters and everyone who took interest in making sure that they make our event known to the public.
For every one that bought tickets they can get the full refund from the outlets where they bought them.
For more info contact us:
Tel: 011 025 0701
The SA Vodka festival team