The volunteer organisers behind the Seddon Festival have pulled the plug on the long-running event, saying it has fallen victim to its own success.
The Seddon Community Group has run the popular street festival for two decades, drawing thousands of people to the heart of Seddon each March.
But after racking up a financial loss last year and failing to find broader backing, the event will not be returning in 2019.
Group secretary Pam Mulready said that after 20 successful years the festival had grown too large for a volunteer organisation to sustain.
Ms Mulready said many of the same volunteers had been on board since it began as a low-key festival in Harris Reserve and the effort required to keep it running had been taking too large a toll on those involved.
“It’s a fairly substantial festival that requires a large commitment from the volunteers and support from the community,” she said.
“Instead of being a broad group, the Seddon Community Group has basically become a community group running a festival.”
The festival had recently expanded to take up much of Charles and Victoria streets, attracting up to 10,000 people with a range of entertainment, a dog show and the annual waiters’ race.
Despite talks with Maribyrnong council and Victoria University on how the festival could continue, no other organisation has stepped in to provide the necessary support.
Ms Mulready said Seddon traders had embraced the event and the council had provided some financial backing, but the bulk of the work still fell on the shoulders of volunteers.
“We have lost a lot of people over the years, through attrition etcetera, so we have been talking with the council about the need to shift to a more sustainable model,” she said.
“It’s time to look at what the festival can deliver to the community in the longer term and how it could shift from a business-as-usual approach to a more sustainable one going forward.”
Maribyrnong planning services director Nigel Higgins said the council had allocated $22,000 of funding to the festival for this year, but the funds had not been distributed.
“The Seddon Community Group has put an incredible amount of hard work and commitment into delivering the festival over the last 21 years and we thank them for this work,” he said.
“We look forward to working with and supporting other community members or groups that might be interested in organising a community festival in Seddon in the coming years.”