Record breaking River Fest sets bar high for next year
MORE than 100,000 people ensured the hottest ticket in Rockhampton over the weekend was a spare hotel room, which proved few and far between.
It will take some time for studies to determine the true economic impact of Riverfest, but Advance Rockhampton's manager of regional development and promotion, Chris Ireland says it was safe to say this year's festival had broken all records.
"It's been far and beyond all our expectations," Mr Ireland said.
"The numbers were up, with more acts, more food vendors and stall vendors.
"Rockhampton is really getting a name for itself as an arts and culture centre."
With perfect weather and a location proving its value, visitors were happy to open their wallets and spend up.
Some food vendors sold out and market stall holders reported going home very light-handed on stock.
The newly redeveloped riverbank created Instagram opportunities and plenty of spaces where people could relax and enjoy a quiet moment.
"We learned just how valuable the riverfront redevelopment has been for this festival," Mr Ireland said.
"People want those breakout areas and the redevelopment has been able to facilitate that."
A marketing campaign to reach outside the four-hour drive market was successful with many people travelling from the south-east corner of Queensland, particularly Brisbane and the Sunny Coast.
"It's been a great effort from the entire Advance Rockhampton team," Mr Ireland said.
"We've had unanimous support from the council table.
"The festival really starts there and without that we can't do out jobs."
Economic analysis begins today and after six weeks planning for next year's festival starts in earnest.
Mr Ireland said he already has "a bit of an idea" about next year's festival, but for now he's staying tight-lipped.
"What we do know is that people are interested in the arts, in food, in culture, in everything the River Festival brings."