Features December 7, 2017

Festival director Mark Duckworth on how he keeps Blues on Broadbeach free after 17 years

Festival director Mark Duckworth on how he keeps Blues on Broadbeach free after 17 years

Blues on Broadbeach is back again in 2018, with the initial line-up including five international acts announced this week.

Almost two decades after its humble beginnings, the multi-award winning Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival shows no sign of slowing down, with acts including The Screaming Jets, Jon Stevens, The Robert Cray Band (USA), Southern Avenue (USA) and Charlie A’Court (Canada) among the stars set to take the stage in May.

This year also sees the festival partner with Memphis Travel to bring the sound and flavour of the home of Blues to the Gold Coast.

But it’s the ability to boost tourism and continue providing entertainment free of charge that is Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival’s greatest legacy.

TMN spoke to festival director Mark Duckworth about what the event brings to the community, and how much the award-winning festival has grown over the years.

What has the year-on-year growth been since the festival started?

The event began 17 years ago with approximately 6,000 people and a couple of stages, as a first-time event everyone was very excited about the success. In 2015 and 2016 the festival has sustained numbers above 160,000 people with over 20 venues from outdoor concert stages to intimate bars. 

How did the deal with Memphis travel partnership come about?

As Blues on Broadbeach has grown to become a blues event of international standing, it seemed a natural fit that we should partner with the worldwide home of the Blues – Memphis city – and celebrate the connection.

What’s the thinking behind making the festival free?

The event began to drive tourism to Broadbeach in the quietest time of the year. The investment was provided by the tourism businesses to make it happen. The event is free, however, at the same, it returns a substantial investment back. Business happy, fans happy… that’s a big tick.    

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