Thursday, 1 June 2017

The fate of FEAT

I'm good at a lot of things but I'm not very good at asking for money. When my wonderful and supportive sponsors of my adventure talks event FEAT went through a tough time in Dec 2015 and into early 2016 with the plummeting exchange rate (they're importers), I just couldn't face looking for new funding. FEAT is an event that doesn't generate enough funding just from ticket sales and so sponsorship is crucial. I also have to take on a bulk of the financial risk of presenting the event personally, with ticket sales only paying out post event. I just couldn't do it and so I decided to cancel FEAT 2016.

More than this, I realised that I was exhausted. Seven FEAT events and one FEAT Kids in five years. On top of Forest Run, Metrogaines, club involvements... just too much.

Putting the FEAT event together takes a good three to four months of my year. Sure, not 100% full-time work, but a considerable portion. That's excluding the time spent throughout the year keeping up with adventure news and writing stories for the FEAT website.

Getting a break from FEAT last year opened up my time and gave me the chance to spend two weeks with my mom walking a section of the Camino de Santiago route. With organising FEAT I spend so much time spent showcasing the adventures of others and no time spent enjoying adventures myself.

So 2016 passed and 2017 arrived and already we're five months of the year down.

In the last 18 months my life has changed considerably. I moved from Jo'burg to the town of Parys, got an instant family, created a new Forest Run, became the Event Director of our local Parys parkrun, am involved with our paddling club and I am establishing a new business - YOLO Colours - in an unfamiliar industry.

I haven't been able to see my way clear to being able to take on the risk of organising FEAT this year and being removed from the rush of Jo'burg, I feel quite out of planning and organising something in Jo'burg, far from my home.

FEAT Canada took place a few weeks ago. The FEAT Canada organiser, Sean Verret, has done wonders with his event. We 'met' when he first contacted me - I think it was shortly after my first FEAT event in October 2010. Sean, also an adventure racer, said that he would be interested in doing something similar in Vancouver, where he lives.

Sean jumped into FEAT and has not only presented high-quality, dynamic and captivating FEAT events, he also created the FEAT Kids version. Sean very much made FEAT his own and brought to it his strong organising skills, experience, passion and love for adventure.

Sean grew his event to bring on a team of people dedicated to tasks like social media, communication, sponsorship, venue liaison, ticketing and such. After 6.5 years Sean has presented seven FEAT events and four FEAT Kids events. Phenomenal!

Last week I received an email from Sean.
Our board of directors met last night and we decided to end FEAT Canada.  It was an extremely hard decision but the long story short is that the amount of time and energy that it takes for us to put on the event is impeding many of us from doing the fun things we like to do and inspire others to do with FEAT.
I can so relate to everything that Sean says. I am grateful for Sean's email which has given me 'permission' to also let go of FEAT and not to feel guilty nor obligated to have to keep it going but, as Sean says later in his message to me, to celebrate what we and FEAT have achieved in these years.

As I let go of FEAT, I feel a dash of pride in the event concept that I created and relief, as a result of Sean's email, that I can say bye-bye to it too.

I do still have some leftover FEAT Headband Buffs. As I type this in the winter chill of my office, I'm wearing one. It is my indispensable winter running-walking-sitting-visiting-doing piece of headwear. It fits right and it is neither too warm nor too cold on my head - even for running.

FEAT bye-bye special of R140 each. I can courier to you for R45 (door-to-door) and a bunch of these will fit into the flyer bag.

1 comment:

Lobby said...

I still remember the chilly Sunday morning before a sprint adventure race when you told me you had finally come up with the name FEAT! You were so excited and I was so happy that here was another concept that you could throw your usual energy, enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge into. The FEAT events were fantastic, you could feel the inspiration flowing over the audience and one of the main aspects I liked so much about FEAT was that it wasn't just the "big names" of adventuring but also the amazing adventures of the "every day" kind of person who had a crazy idea and decided to go with it! Well done Lisa, you have done FEAT proud! Onwards and Upwards...