Bundy Youth festival goes under

PLANS to host an all ages music festival in Bundaberg have sunk without a trace, with event organisers admitting their titanic plan may have been too ambitious.

Initially scheduled for October 10, BergFEST was predicted to be the next big thing in regional events when it hit the stage.

Organisers Cristel Simmonds and Lee Stapleton developed the plan for a day-long concert aimed at 14 to 24-year-olds, saying people in that age group were “crying out” for something to do.

A competition to name the event and design a logo created a flurry of interest, with hundreds of youths joining fan sites for the event on social networking websites MySpace and Facebook.

But after a series of setbacks and delays, the big day out for Bundy musicians was pushed back to December 5 — and eventually, that date came and went without so much as the twanging of a guitar string.

NewsMail employee Mrs Simmonds said a number of factors had conspired against their best-laid plans.

“The idea was really well-received by the community,” Mrs Simmonds said.

“The biggest problem we had was in regards to insurance and security. In terms of coverage, we slipped through the gaps between a charity and a not-for-profit group, which made it difficult.”

She said the economic climate had also hurt the event despite a $10,000 grant from the Queensland Events Regional Development Program.

“The funding proved it would have been a good thing for Bundaberg, but with the financial crisis, it wasn’t the best time,” Mrs Simmonds said.

“Everyone wanted to see it happen and we did get some really good sponsors. But we needed at least $500,000 to put on an event like that, and it was difficult to get that level of sponsorship.”

The entire state government grant was returned late last year when it became clear the event was foundering.

Mrs Simmonds said while BergFEST may have frozen in its tracks, both organisers were still dedicated to youth entertainment.

“I’ve joined the management committee for the PCYC to help create some more underage entertainment and (Ms Stapleton) is getting involved with bands for Youth Week,” she said.

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