Jazz festival hits a low note

ROCKHAMPTON'S Big River Jazz Festival might have played its last encore, it was revealed Wednesday.

The future of the long-running festival is threatened by low attendance at its main event - the Saturday night concert at the Ski Gardens.

Denham Whitham, general manager of Capricorn Business and Events, which organises the festival, says the crowd of about 800 on Saturday was disappointing and 500 fewer than break-even point.

“We greatly appreciate the loyalty of people who have been coming for the last 10 years, but we need more people,” Mr Whitham said.

“Based on the numbers we saw, if we don't get enough local support, corporate support and government funding, we won't be able to run the event again.”

He said the costs of putting on the festival were huge - increased this year by new liquor licensing laws which required high fencing around the concert compound and security guards on the gate to search festival-goers for alcohol.

“It's a juggling act. I don't think there's anything wrong with the Ski Gardens as a venue because the feedback from people who went was very positive.

“There's good parking, good access and all the amenities a concert needs.”

And he said the festival was hugely popular with the musicians.

“They love the atmosphere and the chance to perform at an event that has built such a positive reputation.

“This year the music was the best ever, which makes the low attendance even more disappointing.”

He said if more corporate sponsors came on board it might be possible to lower the admission price. But he thought $19 was not unreasonable.



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