News October 27, 2015

Woodford Folk, Falls, festivals win tourism awards

Woodford Folk, Falls, festivals win tourism awards

Four music festivals were among winners at the 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards held in Adelaide last Friday night.

Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival took out gold in the Major Festivals and Events category while Falls Festival Tasmania took the runner-up silver gong. Another finalist had been the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Canberra’s National Folk Festival took bronze (third prize) in Festivals and Events.

Falls Festival Victoria took silver in the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.

In 2014 Woodford Folk said it drew an aggregate audience of 126,122 patrons (over 3% increase from 2013) to its Woodfordia site over six days. Director Bill Hauritz said, "It's not everybody's cup of tea – but if you're into energy and colour and art and music – it's a relaxed festival of goodwill.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Major Events, Woodford Folk injected $17 million into the Queensland's economy and generated more than 200,000 visitor nights. Each year, about 14,000 attendees come from intestate and abroad. A study of its punters, released by the festival last week showed that 71% were repeat visitors. Despite its hippie image, almost 60% had university qualifications or were undergoing tertiary training. Further, the highest attending occupation category was professionals at 32%.

The festival returns for its 30th year between December 27 and January 1, with tickets on sale on its website. Hauritz outlines, “We’re using our 30th not to reflect but to look forward. It’s an opportunity to hit the refresh button and create some real surprises.” He adds, “Turning thirty is mind-numbing for those of us still around after all that time, the older ones among us are delighted with the young age of the volunteers, organisers and staff. It produces a seriously youthful energy. Enthusiasm for the festival from within has intensified not dissipated.”

Falls Marion Bay 2014, which drew 12,500 despite wild winds, injected $15 million into the Tasmanian economy, with almost 60% of the crowd from intestate.

As the biggest music festival on the island, it gets help from Tourism Tasmania, whose initiatives include competitions offering free tickets, car hire and accommodation. Last year, organisers tried to make it more family friendly with a larger family camping ground.

The National Folk Festival traditionally draws between 50,000 to 55,000, with economic impact ranging from $15 million to $30 million.

Falls Festival Victoria’s silver win for sustainable tourism was not its first gong in the category. Injecting up to $27 million a year – its 16,000 tickets are usually snapped up in two hours – 64% of the water used on site is rainwater, with 55 tonnes of waste was recycled or composted a year. Plates and cutlery provided at food stalls are biodegradable, and the toilets use pine bark instead of water where the waste can then be used as fertilizer.  

Related articles