North West Festival gets bigger and better

Music festivals are big business, not just in terms of ticket sales but in the cultural and economic impact it can have on the town or city the festival is held in.

Port Hedland is the latest regional town in Western Australia to discover the benefits of this multi-million dollar industry and as a result, the rest of the State has embraced Port Hedland’s status as the latest festival destination.

In its inaugural year in 2012, the North West Festival attracted 3220 patrons, with 821 of those being intrastate and interstate visitors who spent an estimated total of $409,320 in just one and half days in the Town of Port Hedland.

These conservative figures suggest that the North West Festival has the potential to diversify Port Hedland’s economy and drive the town’s renaissance as a must-stop tourist destination.

Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett said she was rapt with last year’s response to the Festival, and is looking forward to a bigger and better second year.

“The Town of Port Hedland staff and the Sunset Events team worked hard behind the scenes to get the ball rolling for the inaugural festival, including attracting sponsors, promoting the event and selling tickets Australia wide, and most importantly engaging the community which played a huge role in the Festival’s success.”

In the lead up to the Festival, the town and Sunset Events undertook a variety of community engagement activities.  There was a local band competition where the winner got to open the festival, mentoring opportunities between high school students and members of the Sunset Events team.  There was also a partnership with local environmental group Care for Hedland Association to ensure the festival grounds were kept clean while educating patrons to
reduce litter and their environmental footprint.

This year’s Festival is guaranteed to be a show stopper, with Aussie rock veteran Paul Kelly leading the line up, accompanied by Bernard Fanning, 360, Bluejuice, The Black Seeds, Abbe May and Vance Joy.

Ticket sales are expected to exceed last year’s and the economic spend in the town is also projected to increase.

“There is a strong business case for the North West Festival to continue past its initial three year agreement as planned, and if we continue to attract and retain financial and community support, there’s no reason why it can’t become the next Southbound or Groovin the Moo,” Mayor Howlett said.