MUSIC FESTIVAL FUNDING TAKES HIT
A SPANNER has been thrown in the works, but Airlie Beach Festival of Music organiser Gavin “Butto” Butlin is going to make the 2016 event happen.
Mr Butlin said this year the festival had not been successful in obtaining funding under Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program, leaving him with a lot of financial ground to make up.
“The event costs $500,000 to put on and it is the biggest event in the Whitsundays,” he said.
“I’ve put deposits down on a number of aspects of the festival. This year’s festival is definitely going ahead, but future festivals are in doubt.”
The move comes after two years of successful funding applications.
A TEQ spokesperson said there were some previously funded events, such as the festival, that did not receive funding in the current round.
“This is because they either did not meet the QDEP funding eligibility criteria, did not meet the criteria as strongly as the successful submissions, or did not demonstrate sufficient growth and value from previous funding contracts,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Butlin said the festival was building and would soon be self sufficient, but in the meantime he needed a hand to keep the tourists rolling in.
“In a couple of years time I’ll stand alone,” he said.
“I won’t need support because the festival will be that big that I can sell enough tickets to cover the cost.
“We’ve turned the deadest weekend of the year into the busiest the Whitsundays has ever seen.
“It’s a fantastic event for local business, it brings in thousands of tourists from all across the country.”
State Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan took aim at the Labor funded TEQ program in a Facebook post, saying it simply wasn’t good enough.
“As a passionate advocate for tourism, especially regional tourism, I am stunned by this outcome and call on the minister to step in for the sake of this hugely popular event, which brings so many people to town,” he wrote.
TOP TIME: The 2015 Airlie Beach Festival of Music drew in huge crowds. Photo: Andrew Pattinson/Vampp Photography