Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Support secured

- By LAURA GREEN

A support agreement between Edward River Council and Deni Play on the Plains Festival Ltd has been renewed, securing cash and in-kind donations for the Deni Ute Muster and Play on the Plains Festival.

The new memorandum of understand­ing (MoU) will see council provide sponsorshi­p of $35,000 annually for a three year term, from 2021 to 2023, for marketing purposes.

It is in a increase of $10,000 a year from the previous agreement, which expired at the end of 2020, to include new festival Play On the Plains.

In-kind support of $75,000 annually for ‘‘traffic control, road and access maintenanc­e, food inspection­s and receival of sewage and waste from the site’’ is also included in the new MoU.

This in-kind support also includes council assistance with the identifica­tion of funding opportunit­ies, and assistance in making applicatio­ns for grants.

The total $225,000 in-kind support over the life of the MoU was deemed appropriat­e because of the addition of Play on the Plains for the festival calendar, with the first held in March this year.

It is also in recognitio­n of the contributi­on the events make to local visitation and the district economy.

The Deni Ute Muster attracts an average of 20,000 patrons each year, injecting between $8 million and $15 million into the district economy annually.

In addition, according to data from Destinatio­n NSW, at least $1.5 million is spent with local suppliers annually for the Deni Ute Muster alone.

Deni Ute Muster general manager Vicky Lowry said council’s support allows the event to maintain its community focus.

‘‘The Deni Ute Muster began as a community event in 1999, and while there have been many changes to the structure and organisati­on over the years one thing has remained the same – it is still a community event where all money raised goes back into the running of future events and to the community.

‘‘Now with the addition of a new tourism site — the newly completed Deni Ute Muster Museum and new Play On the Plains event — it is important to work closely with Edward River Council.

‘‘We have the same vision of generating significan­t economic and tourism benefits to the Edward River Region.’’

In the memorandum submitted to council, community and economic developmen­t project officer Erica Singleton said the MoU was created ‘‘with a vision to increase overnight stays either side of the two events, and encouragin­g future visitation’’.

Ticketing informatio­n from Deni Play on the Plains Festival Ltd suggests at least 60 per cent of patrons come from Victoria to attend the Deni Ute Muster.

Data shows of the 1098 general admission tickets sold for Play on the Plains in March, 48 per cent were Victorians and 70 per cent of all attendees chose to stay at local accommodat­ion.

Changes in the NSW Public Health Order and a cap on ticket sales became a financial burden, with extra costs to make the event COVID safe and able to proceed.

These included barrier fencing, policing, seating, COVID officers, medical team, cleaning and sanitisers resulting in a $70,000 loss to the festival.

The new agreement includes this year’s Deni Ute Muster, which is expected to be held October 1 and 2 as long as COVID-19 restrictio­ns allow.

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