A Knysna Woodworkers press release…
We are still receiving a number of phone calls and emails as there seems to be much confusion surrounding the involvement of the Knysna Woodworkers Festival in the upcoming wood festival.
The similarity in the names Knysna Woodworkers Festival and Working with Wood Festival may have contributed to this confusion. I would appreciate this opportunity to explain and to allay any further confusion.
Knysna Woodworkers hosted the inaugural Knysna Woodworkers Festival in 2012. We have been planning the next Knysna Woodworkers Festival since early this year, working full steam towards a bigger and better festival. This was as a result of the overwhelming interest, support and the acknowledgement of economic potential for both our timber industry as well as Knysna as a town from the platform we had created. Any event organiser can attest to, and really appreciate, the time, effort and money that is involved in organising a festival of this nature.
With huge support from our media sponsors as well as endorsement from Knysna Tourism, it was all systems go. From the word go the organisers of the forthcoming Working with Wood Festival were also fully aware of our intentions to proceed.
Some months into our planning, we heard rumours of an upcoming Working with Wood Festival. Rumour, as we all know, needs to be substantiated and, as neither the new panel of organisers nor Knysna Tourism had made any attempt at notifying us as to a possible conflict of interest, we made further enquiries to one of the organisers as well as Knysna Tourism to find out what was really happening. We were then in fact misled into believing that their plans were in no ways competition to us. Naively, we carried on in our efforts before finally we came to the realisation that this was not so.
If we had been dealt with honesty and transparency by both the organisers of the Working with Wood Organisers as well as Knysna Tourism, we would have been in a position to make a sound business decision – do we or do we not continue with our endeavours – but now, as things stand, it is now fait accompli.
If we had been given the correct information, we would have been able to save ourselves a great deal of unnecessary time and expense, as well as not having to go through the humiliation of cancelling our sponsors, our pre-booked exhibitors (including groups from all over South Africa), and other funding initiatives. We have also taken the festival pages off of our very successful website to prohibit further enquiries. Interestingly enough, all those who were so supportive have been from out of town, and this could have so benefited the timber industry as well as contributed towards the economy of Knysna.
We have great passion for woodworking and particularly see an urgent need in reviving interest in Knysna’s woodworking industry and our only wish is to see it prosper, so the issue has never been what was done, but rather how it was done.
We are not in any way affiliated with the Working with Wood Festival, nor were we ever asked to be a part of it. So the Knysna Woodworkers Festival, and all that we aspired to accomplish, has been cancelled in subjugation to the Working with Wood Festival.
If you truly aspire to uplift the timber industry, it goes without saying that it will be severely detrimental to have two festivals of the same nature within a few months of each other. It is self-defeatist and will be detrimental to exhibitors, sponsors, visitors and, ultimately, Knysna. A conflict of interest would be created as there will be two festivals that will severely dilute the impact of each festival. This will not do any good to the upliftment of the timber industry, nor will it achieve what it needs to do.
Knysna Woodworkers is still proud to have been the forerunner of a festival of this nature, and through all our efforts, groundwork, and the infrastructure on the grounds still in place, have helped to create the platform from which to work on, although it has now culminated in our personal detriment.
We wish huge success for the Working the Wood Festival, and wish all those that are participating as exhibitors to go from strength to strength.