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Feast Festival controversy grows

Festivals

The brouhaha surrounding Adelaide’s Feast Festival has escalated amid reports the organisation’s general manager has been suspended.

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As InDaily previously reported, the LGBTIQ arts and culture festival was last week accused by Adelaide Fringe venue Tuxedo Cat of reneging on an informal agreement to share space at Raj House in Hyde Street, which Feast announced in August would be its new permanent hub.

Now the crisis appears to have grown, with The Australian reporting today that Feast general manager Cassandra Liebeknecht has been suspended over allegations of misconduct. The paper said four board members had resigned in protest over the decision, and that “festival insiders” claimed the suspension was actually related to her heterosexuality.

The Feast Board of Management would not respond to specific questions from InDaily, saying it was “not in a position to comment about any internal investigations that may be currently underway”.

However, it confirmed it had accepted the resignations of four “very recently appointed” board members.

“The organisation rejects all forms of discrimination based on sexuality and will continue its 20 years of history – supporting and celebrating all sexualities and genders,” the board said in a statement.

InDaily was unable to reach Liebeknecht for comment this morning.

The row with Tuxedo Cat last week prompted a rash of angry comments on Feast’s Facebook page from people accusing the festival of “blindsiding” its fellow arts organisation over the Raj House deal.

Several Facebook comments today continue the attack on Liebeknecht, with one urging Feast to “publicly acknowledge the article where your suspended general manager claims our community is straight phobic”.

A board spokesperson told InDaily that a longer statement regarding current events would be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the board said it was “committed to the exciting future of the Feast Festival and the program will continue this year as planned”.

The annual festival – which encompasses music, comedy and theatre shows, community events, visual art, film and other events – will take place from October 21 until November 6.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Feast.

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