Courtesy Blue Turtle Digital

Whitsunday Reef Festival 2011 wrap

Mon 24 Oct 2011

The eleventh Whitsunday Reef Festival was held over the 4 days 20-23rd October 2011. Despite some “Belgium summer” skies, the festival registered in excess of 10,000 event attendances across the 4 days. Events ranged from the ticketed comedy, dining and fashion events to free concerts headlined by The Black Sorrows to a huge range of family fun.

Inspired by attendance numbers and sponsor support, the festival is likely to be held on similar dates in 2012. The feedback has been fantastic. Amongst the most heart warming is how spirits have been lifted, particularly by the Rotary street parade and the energy of so many people out and about.

A key enhancement this year was the use of the central Airlie Beach carpark for two concert nights and the carnival rides. Adjacent events bought further focus to the centre of the street, lagoon and beach, including Recyclable Regatta, Family Fun Day, Chill in the park and Wearable Art, very firmly being the festival to both street and foreshore.

The committee focus came to the main street with the extreme enthusiasm supplied by Stacey Harvey, while Secretary Margie Murphy work tirelessly to keep people on track. Committee representation across business and community was key to the success including Jeff Aquilina (chair), Ian Stone (Treasurer), Amanda Hansen (marketing) backed by Steve McDonald, Fluer Stone, Justin Heitman, Clace Bradley, Chanelle Gangemi, Bronwyn Garland, Nina Wilson, Simone Benoite, Chantal Apruzzese, Pam Pole, Jo Paparone, and John Nayler. The year in year out stability of the committee will be reinforced with mooted return of Bec and Ellen Kerr in 2012.

Naturally, any festival with so much diversity can only lead to argument about favoured events, but with out question is role of sponsors. With no “festival” sponsor in 2011, the support from a large number of small sponsors was critical, lead by Porters, Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, Queensland Premiers Department, Whitsunday Regional Council, Telstra Whitsunday and  Airlie Beach Hotel just to name a few. Fantastic promotional support was also key in 2011, Sea FM, Whitsunday Times, and Whitsunday Guardian ensured that the festival was well communicated.

We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2012 as Reef Festival provides the ideal reunion for people who itch for a reason to come back to Airlie Beach.Courtesy Blue Turtle Digital