Event’s eco­nomic ben­e­fit is im­por­tant

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce and Tourism pres­i­dent Ser­gio Rede­galli says dis­al­low­ing the Straw­berry Fields Fes­ti­val in Tocumwal this year may have de­railed an im­por­tant event for the com­mu­nity.

Mr Rede­galli, who at­tended an ex­tra­or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing to dis­cuss the event’s de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion sta­tus last week, said he was ‘‘frus­trated’’ at ef­forts to ‘‘dis­rupt’’ the fes­ti­val.

‘‘I’m an­gry that one in­di­vid­ual who doesn’t even live in Tocumwal — who only has a farm near the site — can cause such stress to the com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Rede­galli said.

‘‘He keeps on say­ing he’s got peo­ple who are against it (the fes­ti­val), but I haven’t heard of any­one else.

‘‘The op­po­si­tion could stop Tocumwal be­com­ing a mu­sic hub. We have other plans as a com­mu­nity for mu­sic fes­ti­vals at the golf course and so forth.

‘‘We should be say­ing ‘let’s do it, let’s make it work’.’’

Ac­cord­ing to an eco­nomic ben­e­fit study com­mis­sioned by the event’s or­gan­is­ers, Straw­berry Fields fes­ti­val draws around 6000 peo­ple to the Tocumwal area and brings in $1.2 mil­lion to the Ber­ri­gan Shire.

Mr Rede­galli said the fes­ti­val has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate a ‘‘knock on ef­fect’’ in the fu­ture, for both the town and Ber­ri­gan Shire.

‘‘Our shire would never be able to af­ford the money to pay Google to re­ceive the search hits that Tocumwal gets from Straw­berry Fields; it helps us get recog­nised on­line,’’ he said.

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