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'Change the date': promotions expert shreds timing and venue for major music festival

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One of Queensland’s most experienced event promoters has questioned the “waste and futility” of ratepayer support for one of the region’s most talked about music events.

Bob Carroll, of Australian Events, said it was nonsensical to host the Caloundra Music Festival on a long weekend in October, when accommodation is booked by tourists anyway.

“We talk to event companies all the time – we’re a member of Event Industries Australia – and there are lots of events that would like to be happening here, but they cannot, and that’s a real shame,” Mr Carroll said.

“And yet the council wastes $1m on the Caloundra Music Festival … Council continue to want to hold it on a long weekend at the start of summer, when the place would be booked solid and busy anyway.

“They pour hundreds of thousands of dollars of ratepayers’ money into an event that should be moved to an off-peak period and done somewhere else, so that’s the sort of oddity that you see here on the Sunshine Coast.

“If they want to be in the festival business … then at least hold it in off peak and hold it at a venue that is better suited to hold such an event.”

Mr Carroll’s company has operated for 35 years and manages 14 major events annually,  including the Caravan and Camping Expo at Kawana and the Nambour Expo.

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The festival’s home at Kings Beach.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said the festival contributed to the region in multiple ways and money wasn’t the only factor.

“It is a not-for-profit event and, for more than a decade, has delivered significant economic, social and cultural benefits to our community. The event’s success is not determined solely by economics,” the spokesperson said.

“The event provides opportunities for other not-for-profit groups to participate – for example, hosting CMF camping is the major fundraiser for Caloundra State School.

“A new partnership with Headspace this year promoted the youth support program You-Turn, with an on-site set up.

“More than 120 contracts were awarded to local suppliers to support the event (this year).

“Thirty-plus local performers/bands were paid to entertain and showcase their sound. Local school band Lamkin Lane, got the experience of a lifetime.”

The Your Space chill out zone.

The spokesperson said the time and venue (Kings Beach Amphitheatre) were suitable.

“Timing of the festival coincides with the end of the school holidays and Queen’s Birthday long weekend.”

“The beachside location is a major drawcard …. patrons being able to walk from many accommodation houses, visit restaurants and retail as well as take a dip at the beach.

“Event survey results indicate 94 percent agree that the festival adds to the appeal of the Sunshine Coast and local residents should feel proud of it.”

Council approved an operational budget of $250,000 for the financial years 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

“Hosting the event injects more than $3 million into the Sunshine Coast economy, through direct and incremental expenditure,” the spokesperson said.

Entertainers at the festival. Picture: Colin_McLellan.

Mr Carroll’s frustrations also stemmed from what he said was Council’s reluctance to improve the Kawana sports fields, where he has held the Caravan and Camping Expo.

“I showed Council some photos of holes in boundary fences … poor drainage that has never been fixed, lack of proper toilets and facilities,” he said.

“We can’t grow where we are because of access and because of limited space and lack of facilities.”

The spokesperson said the venue was multi-purpose and continued to be upgraded.

“Kawana Sports Precinct is a highly-utilised facility, hosting a range of major events … whilst also being home to a range of community level sport and events.”

“The facility most recently had new and additional power supply and lighting upgrades.

“Council continues to undertake capital improvements to the venue in line with the precinct development plan based on available funding. This year’s capital works program includes formal carpark construction, installation of new LED lights to one field, replacing old halogen lights and replacing the LED screen.”

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via: news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au


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