Thank you to the patience of our community as we continue to work through the current situation with regard to Covid-19 and the cancellation of Blazing Swan.
We’ve seen a wide spectrum of feelings and opinions being raised and discussed on our social media as well as through our emails and DMs since our cancellation news was communicated on Monday evening.
Behind the scenes our Comms and Ticketing Team volunteers have been working through the direct communications, answering these as quickly as possible. But publicly we recognise that we have been quiet, and wanted to address where we’re up to, what’s happening and some further information – again, our aim is to remain as open and transparent as possible with the community.
The following question and answers are designed to help provide an update, and answer some of the more common questions that are being raised on social media.
Where do things stand on site?
At the moment around 20 people from the committee, event management teams and build crews are taking down the start of construction that would have made up our main burns, this activity is expected to take the next couple of days as it’s repacked and transported back to Perth for storage at the Nest.
As we have committee members split between Perth and JRC, those on site continue to assist with operations there, with members and volunteers in Perth continuing to provide supporting roles.
What are the next steps for Blazing Swan?
Whilst packing down the site, as a team we are working to cancel as many services we can – but each one has different contractual requirements and each will take time to resolve, any knock-on refunds from these will take time to resolve.
Even at the best of times cancellations are difficult to manage but bearing in mind the impact Covid-19 is having for everyone, we expect some additional delays.
From there, our next step remains to review and assess where the association stands financially and then discuss this with our members.
Can you provide more information about the finances and refunds?
Understandably, based on our no-refund situation, many people have called for Blazing Swan to be transparent in where it stands financially. Many are struggling to understand the costs associated with the event and why we cannot refund.
As an event we have contractually spent money in things like; the land Blazing Swan uses, the fire and ambulance service crews who are on site throughout the event, the building materials for Effigy and Temple, the contractors for the supply of portaloos and services for removal of waste water from site, as well as providing grants to artists and theme camps to help them bring their gifts to the event. Understandably, some of the items listed won’t now be used so it would be logical to assume we can cancel and expect a refund.
However, for many we have already made payments, for others we remain obligated to meet payment terms and for some – like the building materials in the Temple or Effigy we cannot reclaim costs for something we have already used.
At present we cannot release any financial information, not because we’re looking to hide it, but because at the moment, the numbers are changing every day and until all contracts and payments have been resolved, we simply don’t have that information to provide.
When we have returned from site, regrouped and the final figures are in – only then can we look to provide an update to our members. It is then that we can have discussions about if and how Blazing Swan can progress forward.
What about refunds?
For those who have contacted us directly about refunds, we have been working through your emails and DMs in a reasonably quick time – we appreciate your patience that you have with the 3 volunteers who are looking after this.
We’ve provided information on our website about why refunds are not possible at this time and so would encourage you to read this post in its entirety and check https://blazingswan.com.au/cancellation/to find out more information in our FAQs.
For those wanting the more direct and summary version – simply put, at present our financial situation will not allow for tickets to be refunded – should this occur the association and event will cease to exist.
That does not mean we will not be investigating ways for us to try and make amends for what has occurred. There have been lots of suggestions in the online community about potential options and we assure you we will be looking into what’s possible – but all of this will need to occur after we have properly understood our financial situation and met with our membership.
Why haven’t you been responding to comments made on Social Media?
Blazing Swan has and moderates a number of pages and groups as well as the event page and Instagram channels.
Our belief is to have an open community with as little moderation as possible (https://blazingswan.com.au/facebook-moderation-guidelines/) – we want people to have positive constructive conversations and discussions with as little involvement from Blazing Swan moderators as possible.
At the time of writing, our cancellation post across the numerous groups and pages had a combined comment total of 478. And whilst our Comms Team has read all of them, as volunteers, we do not have the resources to respond to each one individually. When many are feeling angry and frustrated, a likely outcome is to generate more anger and frustration without resolution.
Not responding does not mean we are not listening.
We will be investigating all avenues, taking every action possible to try and make amends of this situation. But it will not happen overnight and we ask for your patience as this happens.
Finally, on our community pages we are seeing an increasing amount of unconstructive comments and hurtful words used in our community. Sometimes it’s burner ‘snark’, or humour, sometimes it’s intentional, but whatever the style,we’d ask for consideration.
We understand that everyone will feel differently about the situation, each person will have a different opinion as to ‘how things could be done differently’ and ‘what we should be doing’.
People are entitled to be upset and frustrated about the lack of refunds. People are entitled to express their opinion. Blazing Swan will do its best to keep the community up to date and explain what has happened and why.
But as a community, we should act how we want to be treated – with respect and kind words, despite a differing opinion.
We ask that you are considerate of your online community and neighbours.
Thank you for your time, patience and support
Blazing Swan Committee