Or­gan­is­ers just like a real fam­ily

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE -

THEY say it takes a vil­lage to raise a child, but it takes a na­tional com­mu­nity to put on the Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic in Air­lie Beach.

In the spirit of the Paul Kelly song it has also been the case that “from lit­tle things, big things grow”.

Six years ago the fes­ti­val was one man’s dream.

That man, Mackay pub­li­can and mu­sic pro­moter Gavin But­lin, shared his dream with Whit­sun­day mu­si­cian Kieran McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy pro­vided a lis­ten­ing ear and the rel­e­vant in­tro­duc­tions, and so the Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic was born.

“Butto started off with an ex­er­cise book and a pen,” he re­called. “We’re go­ing to put it in a glass case one day; it was ab­so­lute chaos and if he’d lost that book it would have been cur­tains.

“You’ve got to hand it to him though – how he pulled that first one off is just mind-bog­gling, but he’s a won­der­ful bloke and some­one who in­stils con­fi­dence in peo­ple – they very quickly want to be part of what he’s do­ing and sup­port him.”

From a core com­mit­tee of four, also in­clud­ing An­nie Free­man and Sam Hay­ward, the in­ner cir­cle grew to in­cor­po­rate other key play­ers and “the boss” An­gela Rae.

True to the phrase that be­hind ev­ery good man is an even bet­ter woman, El­lie Han­lon be­came “Butto’s rock” and the sense to his sen­si­bil­ity.

Then came the army of vol­un­teers, not just in Air­lie Beach, but lo­cated Aus­tralia-wide.

“We’ve got am­bas­sadors from around the coun­try run­ning our na­tional Pass­port to Air­lie com­pe­ti­tion and there are vol­un­teers from here and other re­gions who just turn up to help come fes­ti­val time,” Mr But­lin said.

“Words can’t ex­plain how much all these peo­ple mean to me; it wouldn’t hap­pen with­out their sup­port.

“It’s a com­mu­nity project and one big fes­ti­val fam­ily.”

The fi­nal mem­bers of that fam­ily are the teams at Tourism and Events Queens­land and Tourism Whit­sun­days who back the event year af­ter year.

“The key to any suc­cess no mat­ter what the project is, is col­lab­o­ra­tion and part­ner­ship,” Tourism Whit­sun­days chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tash Wheeler said.

“Over the last cou­ple of years since strength­en­ing our part­ner­ship with the Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic we have seen greater suc­cess with mar­ket­ing ef­forts and greater re­sults with visi­ta­tion.

“When we all work to­gether we get bet­ter out­comes, for the des­ti­na­tion, the event and all in­volved.”

PHOTO: VAMPP PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

MAS­SIVE CON­TRI­BU­TION: The team be­hind the Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic.

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