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Dwyer faces music over Caloundra festival benefits

The John Butler Trio performs to a massive crowd at this year’s Caloundra Music Festival.
The John Butler Trio performs to a massive crowd at this year’s Caloundra Music Festival. Brett Wortman

A SUNSHINE Coast councillor has defended the Caloundra Music Festival in the face of criticism that it is using ratepayers' money to compete against privately funded events.

Caloundra councillor Tim Dwyer said he had received complaints from members of the town's business community about the timing of the event during a peak school holiday period, but said it was the only event funded by council that had the opportunity to break even or make a profit.

Financials for the event published on Monday in the Sunshine Coast Daily have revealed a shortfall of around $400,000 that may reach $500,000 by the time all accounts are settled.

Cr Dwyer said the spend represented value for money with the festival returning more than $6 million in economic benefit, according to consultants Strategic Facts.

"It will be close to breaking even in the next couple of years," he said. "No other event we sponsor can do that."

Big Pineapple Music Festival partner Brendan Weatherall, who also part

ners in staging the Golden Days Festival in Coolum, said he did not think it was possible to prove added value from the Caloundra festival inside a peak holiday time.

He said instead there was the potential for the event to put off traditional holiday tourism. Mr Weatherall said the festival breached council's own funding guidelines that required events to be held outside of peak times.

He said council would do better to assist in developing the tourist potential of events like Golden Days and other festivals run by private enterprise.

"If they worked with us we would be more than willing to help fund youth development programs," he said.

"The Big Pineapple Music Festival is already 50% sold out and its social media reach is reaching levels it has taken five years for the Caloundra Music Festival to develop.

"Is council going to start doing restaurants and clothing stores and hardware shops? Council is running a business and selling in the marketplace."

Topics:  caloundra music festival tim dwyer


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