Turtle-inspired festival to replace Crush
OUR turtles will take centre stage with the announcement of a major arts and cultural festival to replace the Crush Festival.
Launching in November, the aptly named Milbi Festival, with Milbi being the Gurang word for turtle, will coincide with the start of the region's turtle season.
Last month it was announced the Crush Festival would not return in 2019, and would instead be replaced by a new event.
The Bundaberg Regional Council led festival will partner with Bundaberg Tourism and Gidarjil Development Corporation, with a focus on broader community involvement.
To kick start the festival the council is seeking expressions of interest for events to be included in the Milbi Festival.
The council's community and cultural services spokeswoman Judy Peters said Milbi Festival would build on the foundations of the last 10 years of Crush Festival to reach an exciting new era in celebrating what was unique to our region.
"Crush Festival was started in 2008 and has delivered terrific outcomes for our arts and cultural sector as an annual event held each October,” she said.
"Moving the festival to November and aligning it with our prime tourism season gives us an exciting opportunity to shape the future of this festival and tap in to the creative economy. I believe that the Milbi Festival will be an opportunity to join together to celebrate the best we have, our location at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and showcase our region on a number of levels.”
Cr Peters said the council was seeking expressions of interest from artists, arts organisations, schools and community groups for new events and ideas for the festival.
"It's absolutely about council getting behind our community, our local artists and community organisations and building new and exciting projects.
"It's about creating something that's uniquely Bundaberg that will spread our great name around the country.”
Cr Peters said the council had reappraised its goals under the new Arts and Culture Strategy and felt it now had staff with the expertise and the flair to be able to drive a diverse Milbi Festival program.
"Creative Regions successfully managed the Crush Festival event for Bundaberg Regional Council from its inception and we can't thank them enough for their years of guidance and assistance,” she said.
Both Bundaberg Tourism and Gidarjil have supported Milbi Festival by entering in to a memorandum of understanding.
Gidarjil managing director Kerry Blackman said indigenous people had a strong affinity with turtles, dating back to the Dreamtime.
"Mon Repos is the traditional country of the aboriginal people that lived around Bargara and as such they were the custodians and guardians of both the land, sea, and turtles at Mon Repos,” he said.
"Mon Repos has always remained a special place to the aboriginal people that lived around Bargara and it still does today.”
Dr Blackman said Gidarjil, with funding and support from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, worked to protect the local turtle population and nesting environment.
Bundaberg Tourism general manager Katherine Reid said the start of the turtle season was a wonderful cause for celebration in Bundaberg.
"Quality events that showcase a region's point of difference have the ability to drive visitation and create broad destination appeal,” she said.
"We're looking forward to working with the Council and Gidarjil teams on developing the festival program as a hero destination event for the Bundaberg Region.”