Blazing Swan 2020 Cancellation Annoucements

It is with heavy hearts that we annouce Blazing Swan 2020 has been cancelled.

In line with our aim of clear and transparent information, on this page you will find information on the annoucement and updates, supporting documentation and answers to frequently asked questions.

If, after reading, you still require more information or have questions please contact:

  • Tickets@blazingswan.com.au
  • Comms@blazingswan.com.au

Cancellation Announcement (16th March 2020)

In response to recent concerns regarding COVID-19 and mass gatherings, members of the Blazing Swan Committee requested to meet with the Kulin Council to discuss the future of our event for 2020. As a result of this meeting and in recognition of our civic responsibility to our community and to society at large, it is with heavy hearts that the decision was made to cancel Blazing Swan Perception 2020. For many of our community, you will have mixed feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and disappointment. As a Committee, we stand alongside you in these feelings.

There have been tough decisions to make and we will need to continue to face difficult choices to save our association into the future. We have all poured our hearts and souls into this event, but  Civic Responsibility remains paramount to protect our community, the Kulin community and the world we call home. 

With this cancellation will come many questions about the event’s future. We’ve done our best to provide a transparent response as to what has happened and what our next steps will be, as well as answering some of the questions that our community is likely to have. We ask that you take some time to read these.

The cancellation of Blazing Swan 2020 sees our association enter a very uncertain financial period with an undetermined future for the event itself. It is hard to express how disappointed we are by these unfortunate circumstances.

The Swan will not burn in 2020, but know that it will still burn just as bright in all of our individual hearts, as we stand together and get through this difficult time. We ask that you continue to act as Blazers do – looking out for each other, helping others, gifting what we can and leading by example within our groups and the wider community that surrounds us. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we would also like to thank you all for the heart warming love and support that you have shown us in recent days. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have already offered to gift their ticket money back to Blazing Swan to keep our association and future events alive. We are feeling the love and solidarity of all of you beautiful people. 

Please take the time to reflect on close family, loved ones, friends and strangers far and wide, who are facing huge challenges and losses here and abroad. COVID-19 is affecting many people in unprecedented ways and our Blazing hearts go out to everyone.

 

Much love and dust.

Blazing Swan Committee

An Update (18th March 2020)

An update…

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 real 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 supportive 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 reasonable 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 FAQ section.

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 occured. 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.

 

We ask…

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, energies and support

Blazing Swan Committee

Images: Dominika Debska & Cinebrah

Blazing Swan 2020 Cancellation FAQs

Why is Blazing Swan affected by COVID-19?

Covid-19 is having a large global and national impacts and as part of our Civic Responsibility we recognise that Blazing Swan has the potential to not only impact those who attend Blazing Swan 2020 itself, but the local communities that we pass through, as well as our friends and families when we return to the default world.

What went into making this decision?

We recognise that there was a lot of information in the public space around Covid-19, particularly following the media announcement surrounding ‘mass gatherings of 500+ people’ on Friday. Our meeting with Kulin Council couldn’t occur until Monday, and elements of the event were already in build phase, crew were on site preparing the infrastructure and contracts on services for the event had already been arranged.

As an association, we aim to be as clear and transparent with our communications as possible. Whilst we always endeavour to keep our participants up to date, we needed time to consider the impact our decisions would have. 

Will there be refunds?

Should the organisation attempt to refund ticket holders, it would see Blazing Swan as an association and any future events terminated. There are simply not enough funds to refund everyone who has purchased a ticket.

Historically, the event is a challenge to run without any financial loss, even with full sales. Ticket sales also help cover association expenses, such as the Swan’s Nest, which holds a year-round lease and is accessible to the community. We have considered our financial position and Blazing Swan Inc is not in a position to offer refunds on tickets already sold to this year’s event. We regret the effect this may have on members of our community.

Although our Terms and Conditions state that tickets are non-refundable in these circumstances, we will do everything in our power to compensate ticket holders as much as possible whilst still ensuring Blazing Swan continues to run into the future.

 

You can read more on our ticketing terms and conditions here 

If you have pre-purchased ice or merch, please see our separate FAQ.

How much financial investment goes into Blazing Swan?

We are not a large corporation or company. We are a small, Not For Profit association that exists to promote our objectives as outlined in the Blazing Swan Constitution. 

We exist for our Members and our Community. Each year, funds from ticket sales are put back into the Blazing Swan event and the resources required run it. 

Blazing Swan members can access our full financial statements, but to provide some context, we need to pay for things like; the land Blazing Swan uses, the nest lease which provides services to the Burner Community throughout the year, 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.

Doesn’t the event insurance cover refunds?

As with similar events scheduled for this time, our cancellation insurance does not cover COVID-19. Despite the Committee investigating and attempting to get insurance to cover this situation since February, ultimately we were unable to do so.

Why not postpone the event?

Postponing the date requires the venue, or another suitable venue to be available. The land on which Blazing Swan is held is also used for Kulin Bush Races and for the rest of the time is working farm land.  We also need to be considerate of the potential bush fire risk should the event be held in hotter, dryer summer months.

Postponing would also have Blazing Swan Inc enter into an unsustainable financial position. It is not possible to transfer tickets to 2021. At the time of ceasing online sales, ticket revenue for 2020 was already 25% down on historic levels.

What if I purchased my ticket through a third party service such as Zip Pay?

Some third party services may have their own terms and conditions. It may be worth checking if you have purchased using a credit cards or Zip Pay, please contact them directly. 

Why can’t I go and stage our own burn on the event site?

The land we hold Blazing Swan on is private property and access is only possible with the land owner’s permission. Although we understand that many people are already prepared and self-sufficient for the event, we strongly advise against travelling to the event site and must point out that any unannounced arrival at the event site would amount to trespassing on private property. We ask that you remain respectful of the landowners

What should Theme Camp, Artists and Mutant Vehicle crews that invested time, money and resources in creating projects for the 2020 event do now?

Many community members that are involved in building projects for this year’s event will naturally be asking what cancellation means for them – or will justifiably be frustrated that their plans would now have to be put on hold. To these crews, we extend our deepest regrets and sympathies. 

We feel and understand the disappointment of seeing something you love so much stopped in its tracks and that all of our many plans will not come together at Blazing Swan this time round.

Please feel free to reach out to the Art or Theme Camp Coordination Team leads for support and information about possible next steps

Will you be offering refunds for ice or merch that has been purchased?

Yes, we will be cancelling any orders made for ice and merch, such as t-shirts, and anyone who has ordered these items will be refunded in full.

Please bear with us while we process this.

What are your next steps for Blazing Swan?

The next step for Blazing Swan as both an event and an association is to review our financial position, we are already working to cancel as many remaining services as possible. 

Once we have consolidated  an understanding of our financial position and met with our members to let them know what is going on and discuss the best way forward for the association and the event.

We will make every effort to communicate about the future of Blazing Swan and our next steps, but we ask for your patience as we work through this process.

Thank you to our Blazing Swan family

For those involved in the organisation of Blazing Swan, working behind the scenes as volunteers, it often adds a lot of workload to an already busy life. Be it the committee, our team leads, our volunteers, the theme camps, the artists and musicians, this for all of us is a passion project within the community.

The last few weeks and especially the last few days have been extremely stressful for everyone involved. We want to thank everyone for their time, patience, efforts and support. And a thank you to those who have expressed concern and sympathy online within the community as well – sometimes the smallest kind word goes a long way.

Further Information

If your question has not been answered please contact comms@blazingswan.com.au

 

For further information on Covid-19

WA’s Cononavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080

If you’d like to more information about the coronavirus, take a look at these links: