News May 20, 2019

Blues On Broadbeach, BASSINTHEGRASS deliver record attendances

Blues On Broadbeach, BASSINTHEGRASS deliver record attendances
Image: Supplied

More Australian regional festivals are becoming strong economic and tourism catalysts.

Both in Queensland and People’s Choice in Darwin announced record attendances at the weekend.

Organisers indicate thatBlues On Broadbeach (May 16—19) attendance rose by 10% from its record-breaking 171,000 from last year.

Its boost to the local economy, set at $21 million, will grow correspondingly.

Blues on Broadbeach was set up by a group of traders under the name Broadbeach Alliance to bring people into the area in the cooler weather.

The Alliance reports that the festival was a huge boom for local businesses, with accommodation occupancy at 90% before the event began.

“It has been quite extraordinary to experience the wonderful relaxed vibe of the festival with the fans commenting how special this festival is,” said Broadbeach Alliance CEO, Jan McCormick.

“Every year we carefully plan our line up and the experience the fans will have when they come and in 2019 the team really nailed it. This festival contributes to the local economy significantly.

“The festival alone employs 250 crew and imagine the numbers of additional employee hours that are generated by the restaurants, accommodation and retail outlets, some of which traded well into the nights.”

The blues festival kept feeding back into its success, increasing its production and booking more international acts to draw the crowds.

This year acts also came from the US, UK, Canada and NZ, headlined by Canned Heat (whose set ended up on a high for the crowd when local guitar hero Kevin Borich joined them onstage) and Eric Bibb.

The one-day People’s Choice BASSINTHEGRASS (May 18) sold out its 10,000 tickets, after moving this year to Mindil Beach from its longtime home at Darwin Amphitheatre.

Set up in 2003 by the National Territory government and operated through its Northern Territory Major Events Company, the first event drew 5,000.

This year’s 22-act bill included Hilltop Hoods, Karnivool, Allday, Amy Shark, Ball Park Music and Pnau.

Northern Territory Major Events Company general manager Tim Watsford said of the new attendance record, “This is a new era for the festival with 10,000 attendees and to see both locals and interstaters getting behind BASSINTHEGRASS proves Darwin is the place to be during our Dry Season calendar of events.”

According to Watsford, the event now draws “people of all ages from right across the country to Darwin.”

MusicNT’s general manager Mark Smith said People’s Choice BASSINTHEGRASS reflects how NT’s return on investment in music is greater than in any other part of Australia.

The inaugural The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in the Northern Territory report from last year found that NT’s overall live music sector is worth over $74 million to the NT economy and provides a return on investment of over $4 for every $1 invested.

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