November 11, 2019

Two Australian country music festivals draw tourism accolades

Two Australian country music festivals draw tourism accolades

By drawing a large portion of their audiences from outside their immediate communities, country continue to draw accolades at state tourism awards.

In the latest instance, the ’s Groundwater took out the top gong in the and Events category at the Queensland Tourism Awards on Friday, November 8.

Held in July, this year’s free event drew 78,000 over three days to see 110 performances and acts including Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole, Tex Perkins, Davisson Brothers Band and The Wolfe Brothers.

Groundwater’s growth has been rapid, from 25,000 in 2013 to 66,000 in 2018, and as a result, it was elevated to ‘major status’ by earlier this year.

Jan McCormack, outgoing CEO of organiser Broadbeach Alliance, told last week that both Groundwater and its older sibling Blues On Broadbeach have 68% of their crowd from outside the region and inject $48 million a year into the local economy.

Blues On Broadbeach had a win on Friday, with 202,000 punters attending over four days.

Groundwater GM Mark Duckworth suggested to that one of the reasons for its success was that it managed to attract both “the 35 -55 folk/blues festival crowds … and a new interest with younger crowds”.

“I think what makes Groundwater different from other events in Australia is the diverse styles of country we offer. From bluegrass and honky-tonk, to traditional and mainstream, we try to cover all bases.”

Artist applications have opened and close at 5 pm (AEST) on Friday, January 10.

In the meantime, the Toyota Country Festival (TCMF), which looks like heading for its biggest event in January 2020, is up for two wins at the NSW Tourism Awards this month.

They are for Best Campaign and Best Destination for the North Coast.

It won bronze (third place) in Major Festivals & Events last year (Splendour in the Grass took the top spot).

TCMF general manager Barry Harley said that over the aggregated 300,000 attendance over ten days, one third were from the Tamworth region, one third from the rest of NSW (especially Sydney and the Hunter Valley), 33% from the rest of the country, and 2% from abroad mostly from New Zealand and the US.

It has generated $50 million in tourism benefits over the years.

It also works with local authorities to encourage attendees to check out the region before or after the festival.

Harley says, “The festival’s impact is not just on patrons’ spend in January. What it does is it makes Tamworth a destination all through the year.