Iconic community charity event Retail Therapy, formerly Shop Yourself Stupid, was dealt a blow this week with the cancellation of Saturday’s East Sydney Festival.

The fundraiser for HIV/AIDS charity the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF) had been planned as a tie-in with the East Sydney Festival.

But, with this week’s cancellation of the street celebration for financial reasons, Retail Therapy will now take a pared-back form.

While on-street bucket collectors and retailer donations will remain, much of the entertainment planned for the day, including the Miss BGF competition, has been cancelled.

Despite the setback, BGF still expects to meet its target of $30,000 from cash collection on Saturday.

We’re still confident the shoppers and retailers along Oxford Street and King Street and Macleay Street and Broadway will be generous enough that we raise that money, BGF CEO Bev Lange told Sydney Star Observer.

She added some Retail Therapy entertainment, such as a Beat FM/BGF radio broadcast and appearances from community celebrities, would remain.

But Saturday’s cancellation means BGF will not receive an anticipated donation of $25,000 from the East Sydney Festival, which had planned to donate its profits to the HIV/AIDS charity.

It’s certainly disappointing that we’re not going to receive any [such] donation, Lange said.

The East Sydney Festival’s cancellation followed a funding turnaround from Sydney City Council, according to organiser Scott Tulloch.

Tulloch told the Star the Council agreed last year to provide half of the East Sydney Festival’s $87,000 cost, in cash and in kind.

But after a meeting with City of Sydney CEO Peter Seamer this week, Tulloch said he was informed Council could not provide such a level of funding.

At that point the event was cancelled, in the face of possible losses of $34,000, after the inaugural East Sydney Festival last September lost some $50,000.

But a City of Sydney spokesperson said the Council had agreed to provide $15,000 for the East Sydney Festival, and pledged a further $3,000 after this week’s meeting.

The City never reduced the amount of funding to be provided, the spokesperson said.

The amount committed by the City towards this festival is consistent with its approach to support of community festivals throughout the local government area.

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