Taste of Byron at crossroads

The future of the annual Byron Bay food lover's festival, A Taste of Byron, it would seem, is at a crossroads.

There are rumblings within the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce to step away from the event.

Then there are those involved with its organisation who want to expand it to a regional festival.

Added to that is the issue of festival sponsorship with the Great Northern Hotel withdrawing its sponsorship from this year's event.

Discussion on the festival at the chamber's preChristmas meeting was widespread.

Prominent chamber member, Barry Wallace, questioned whether the event was meant to be a fund-raiser, or a promotion for Byron Bay businesses.

The minutes of that meeting report Mr Wallace as saying the chamber's role was to get events started, then pass them on to those qualified to run them.

He said the festival should be given to restaurateurs as the chamber had other business to deal with.

Of the businesses involved in the latest festi- val, only 47 percent were chamber members, he said.

The festival was taking too much energy and the chamber should stay involved "only if we must".

Chamber president, Greg Owens, said the chamber had the options of maintaining its involvement, reinventing the entire event as a joint venture, or withdrawing from it altogether.

The future of a Taste of Byron will be discussed at a meeting of "interested parties" at 10 am on Thursday, February 10 at Earth 'n' Sea.

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