FOR the weekend of November 10-12 Airlie Beach will literally come alive to the sound of music.
This is because the Airlie Beach Festival of Music doesn’t just feature major acts on one main stage.
It hosts 74 bands across 18 venues including the Whitsunday Sailing Club big top tent.
“The whole idea was to bring the entire town together – not half a town or a paddock,” event founder Gavin “Butto” Butlin said.
But this inclusive model hasn’t been without its challenges.
“We’ve got people that come into Airlie to hang out in the main street because it’s such a good vibe down there. That’s great for the local businesses but it’s not so good for the longevity of the festival – so if we want to keep it going we’ve got to start changing the structure,” Mr Butlin said.
Part of that structural change is a brand new initiative inviting businesses to sponsor a festival venue for a tax deductable fee of $2500 plus GST.
In addition to signage at the venue, sponsors have the choice of two VIP festival tickets worth $1000 each or eight general admission passes, valued at $260 each, as well as a $100 food and drink voucher for the venue they’ve sponsored.
Local businesses Burnups Furniture Court and lagoon-side restaurant Treehouse are a great example of how the initiative works.
Clive and Jenny Burnup have been supporting the festival since its inception in 2013 and said they did so because it was a way of giving back to the community.
“I think what’s good for Airlie and what’s good for tourism is good for everyone,” Clive Burnup said.
“Even though we’re not in the bar and restaurant sector, we know the money finds its way into the whole community and we’re a part of that – so we’re more than happy to give it our support.”
Treehouse owner Paul Burfitt said his venue “absolutely went off” during last year’s festival weekend, and he recommended any small business owners get involved.
“The music festival brings a huge and diverse mix of people to town,” he said.
“We know we always see a spike in business when a cruise ship comes to town – and that’s 1500 to 2000 people in one day. The festival is the equivalent of about five cruise ships in three days – and that can only be good for the town.”Festival co-ordinator Ellie Hanlon said sponsoring a venue was a way for local business owners to join in one of Airlie’s biggest events.
“And it’s a great way for business owners to get tickets – for either themselves or their staff, as an early Christmas party or a ‘thank you ‘ for the end of the year,” she said.
Music at festival venues runs prior to the main stage schedule, from 10am until 3pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am until 1pm on Sunday.
Festival venues are: Beaches, Anchor Bar, KC’s, Sorrento Restaurant and Bar, Denman Cellars, La Marina, Hogs Breath, Mantra Club Croc Airlie Beach, Shed Bar, Treehouse Café, Fish D’Vine / Rum Bar, Capers, Cactus Jacks, Café One 3, Boaty’s (formerly Down Under Bar), Mika, Magnums and the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
The full schedule of music across all 18 venues is now available to view at www.airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au.
To sponsor a venue email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0408 062 816.
Sponsorships close at the end of the week.