Council's high hopes for Northern winter festival

Festivale crowd in 2014.
Festivale crowd in 2014.

A WINTER festival that runs over two weeks and is uniquely Northern could be Launceston's drawcard for more tourists.

The Launceston City Council is behind a meeting that will bring together community, art and business groups interested in holding such an event.

It comes after months of discussions within the community on the need for a broad cultural event in winter and follows the loss of Dark Mofo events, empty weekends on the Launceston calendar and the need for greater options to entice people here for more than just one fixture, such as an AFL game.

Festivale and New Year on Royal chairwoman Lou Clark said yesterday it would be too difficult for the mainly volunteer committee to take on another event, but she would support a collaborative approach.

Ms Clark said an event or festival that ran over two weeks and was bookmarked by events already on the Launceston calendar - such as an AFL game or Junction Arts Festival - could be the answer.

Groups such as Festivale, the Harvest Market and Breath of Fresh Air could run a program through the week to encourage people to stay and get a broader taste of what the North has to offer, she said.

Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said it was a great idea and worth investigating further.

"The way we're going to get an appropriately balanced events calendar in the city is by engaging all key stakeholders to determine the type of events which will give us the best yield, who should be involved, and how we collaborate to showcase the city and region in the best light, while injecting significant amounts of money into the local economy," Mr Dobrzynski said.

He said Mayor Albert van Zetten was in the process of organising the meeting to discuss how the city could capitalise on the success of Dark Mofo.

Tourism Northern Tasmania executive officer Chris Griffin said a collaborative approach was important so that no one organisation was left trying to come up with the funds or run it, as it was less likely to be sustainable long term.

He said he would not be opposed to working with the Dark Mofo organisers but ensuring whatever occurred was uniquely Northern.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive director Maree Tetlow said it was important the North came up with an event that drew people to the area, as well as getting locals out and enjoying the city in the cooler months.

Junction Arts Festival director Natalie De Vito said she was supportive of growing and developing events already under way and it was important they were adequately supported to help build on Launceston's reputation as an events destination.

Launceston's Harvest Market manager Misty Sanderson said the stallholders and committee would be very supportive of an event that helped to showcase local food, wine and the producers behind them.


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