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Easterfest to get a slice of $49m pie

Michael W Smith
Michael W Smith

UPDATE: A FINANCIAL boon for Easterfest organisers is set to push the popular festival to the next level and bring the wider Toowoomba tourism market with it.

The annual festival has been added as the first major Toowoomba event to the Events Queensland calendar.

It will now share in $49.6 million in State Government funding for major, regional and business events through Events Queensland in 2012-13.

The funding however does come with provisions.

Easterfest director Dave Schenk said key performance indicators would determine whether the festival would continue to receive the funding in the future.

"This is a significant amount of money which will be available to us over the next three years," he said.

"But a large percentage (of the money) is linked to annual KPIs which will be reassessed every three years."

Dave Schenk, Easterfest director talks about the growth of the festival.
Dave Schenk, Easterfest director talks about the growth of the festival. Bev Lacey

 

Mr Schenk said pressure was placed on festival organisers to ensure the funding would work to benefit the larger tourism region.

"We'll be partnering with other tourism organisations and activities to try to attract people from outside Toowoomba, aiming to get people spending longer amounts of time in the region around Easterfest," he said.

"I would be lying if I didn't say the task was a bit daunting, but we have a great team of people here and our goal is to exceed expectations.

The festival is still receiving some funding from Toowoomba Regional Council, but whether that continues or not will have to be reviewed.

Deputy Mayor and chair of the Finance and Business Strategy Committee Cr Mike Williams said events such as Easterfest would need to "justify their funding" if they were to continue receiving council funding support.

"Council isn't in the business of writing cheques to prop up events which don't contribute back to the community which Easterfest clearly does," he said.

"They do need to be held accountable for their revenue stream and that's something I will be pushing to be considered when council reviews its funding."

 

Key performance indicators

  • New and expanded talent and entertainment programs to encourage longer stays and attract new markets
  • Business plans to support event growth, travel packages and interstate marketing
  • Updated software and ticketing systems
  • Temporary infrastructure for increased attendees

 

EARLIER: EASTERFEST will receive a huge financial boost after becoming the first major event for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs to be listed by Events Queensland.

Tourism and Major Events Minister Jann Stuckey said in a media release that extra funding would be provided by Events Queensland towards a range of initiatives designed to enhance numbers and drive visitation in a sustainable, long-term way.

Initiatives include new and expanded talent and entertainment programs to encourage longer stays and attract new markets, business plans to support event growth, travel packages and interstate marketing, updated software and ticketing systems and temporary infrastructure for increased attendees.

This is a tremendous vote of confidence not just in Easterfest, but also in the overall tourism potential of the Toowoomba region. 

Other events included in the announcement were the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, the Birdsville Races and the Blues on Broadbeach festival.

These events will now share in $49.6 million in major, regional and business events through Events Queensland in 2012-13.

 

Minister for Tourism Jann Stuckey
Minister for Tourism Jann Stuckey Greg Miller

"These events which were previously supported through the Events Queensland Regional Development Program, have seen significant growth and will now fall under the Major Events portfolio," Ms Stuckey said.

 

"Events Queensland has evaluated the tourism benefits they provide and their ability to expand and deliver significant economic benefits."

Easterfest director Dave Schenk said he was excited that Events Queensland had recognised the festival just 15 years after its inception in Toowoomba.

"This is a tremendous vote of confidence not just in Easterfest, but also in the overall tourism potential of the Toowoomba region," he said.

"Our focus is to ensure that the State Government funding will take tourism in Toowoomba to a new level over the Easter weekend."

Topics:  easter, events queensland, toowoomba




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