New South Wales has lost a major event, with Cockatoo Island's comedy festival scrapped due to a funding shortfall just 10 days out from its opening.
Billed as The World's Funniest Island, the event was to have featured Jane Turner and Gina Riley as suburban mother and daughter Kath And Kim as well as comedian Wil Anderson, the Umbilical Brothers and Michael Winslow from the Police Academy films.
The event was cancelled yesterday after organisers failed to secure a bail-out package from Events New South Wales, which was supporting it.
Minister for Major Events Kevin Greene told 702 ABC Sydney he was not at the meeting.
"Basically they've made the decision when they've contacted Events NSW. (That) is the advice I have," he said.
"This is extremely disappointing but we should also highlight that there are a stack of major events taking place in Sydney just in the next few days."
Anderson says a number of emerging acts are missing a great opportunity to perform.
"I know guys who live a bit hand-to-mouth. Performers on the scene who would have cancelled a whole weekend of work to be involved," he said.
"So it's those guys, from the performance point of view, that my sympathy goes out to the most."
Organisers say the cancellation is an enormous disappointment for everyone involved.
"We believe this event has great potential to become an annual fixture on the national comedy calendar," a statement on the festival's website added.
Ticket holders will be refunded within 14 business days.
The comedy festival began last year on Cockatoo Island, which was once a prison and shipyard.