IDEAS: Zack Locke, 13, and Jake Seibel, 15, hang out at the skate park during Youth Week.
IDEAS: Zack Locke, 13, and Jake Seibel, 15, hang out at the skate park during Youth Week. Contributed

YOUTH WEEK: Rethink needed for struggling format

FUTURE Youth Week events may see bigger drawcards and more ratepayer dollars being spent, as organisers and the council try to reinvigorate a struggling format.

Fewer than 80 people attended the three-hour Park Beats concert on Friday night in Stanthorpe, and in Allora on Saturday the event only saw 20 people attend.

Tasked with putting on the event, Soular Music Service's Andy Wilmott said some new thinking was needed.

"I think to really make this work, council need to spend more money and bring a name that the kids know,” he said.

"It's all about hype, media and fame these days. The youth aren't really interested in seeing young local performers.”

Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said this option wasn't out of the question.

"We may need to look at a greater financial investment, and putting on events that the young people in the region want to attend,” she said.

"Hopefully with the involvement of our new youth council, we'll get to the heart of what our young people really want.”

Cr Dobie said the council needed to better understand effective communication links with young people.

"We need more interaction with our schools, which we'll have with our youth council members,” she said.

"This is not about getting youth to come to the events we put on, it's about putting on events the youth want to be a part of.”

For Mr Wilmott, the young local performers are the reason he continues to be involved in youth events around the region.

"Council approached me and I was more than happy to take it on,” he said.

"I had to put in a proposal and was granted the funding to make it happen.

"Any chance to give these kids a platform to experience playing live and hone their talents.”

Mr Wilmott said in the past he had put these sort of events on in the middle of town on a Saturday morning.

"The audience is already there and it's much easier to engage with them,” he said.

"I suggested to council we go that way again, but they had decided to go in a different direction.”

Every teenager approached by the Daily News to comment on Youth Week had no idea the event was on.

Zack Locke, 13, said he understood it would be hard trying to cater specifically for teenagers.

"They're all going to want something different as far as activities,” he said.

"I'm not really into music but I'd probably go along if it was Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift or somebody I know.

"For me, perfect events might be a fishing competition, or a free ride day on the dirtbikes out at Morgan Park.”

The Southern Downs Youth Council will be announced on April 26.

The youth council is being made up of representatives from Year 10 from schools right across the Southern Downs. It is reported the youth council will meet four times a year.

Park Beats will come to Leslie Park in Warwick on Friday night from 6pm to 9pm and then Canning Park in Killarney from 6pm to 9pm on Saturday.



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