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Horsham Country Music Festival future in doubt

Lachie McGennisken and Georgia McGennisken at Horsham Country Music Festival.

Lachie McGennisken and Georgia McGennisken at Horsham Country Music Festival.

By DEAN LAWSON
Weary organisers in charge of Horsham Country Music Festival have set a deadline of October-November for individuals or organisations to come forward to rescue the annual event.
Festival co-ordinator Lyle Wheaton said any later deadline before the March music attraction would make a transition from former to new committee members all but impossible.
“The answer is ‘yes’, we can keep it going if new people are willing to get involved. But we need people to come on board sooner rather than later,” he said.
Mr Wheaton made the declaration after Horsham Country Music Association chairman Colin Morrell announced this week that the event’s future was in doubt beyond 2019.
Mr Morrell said the festival had become insecure with Mr Wheaton’s decision to step down as co-ordinator, an issue amplified by advice that other committee members, many of them in their 70s, also planned to retire.
He went as far as saying the 2019 Horsham Country Music Festival would be the last unless the association could find a new co-ordinator.
The festival, based at Horsham Soundshell at Sawyer Park but also featuring events and performances at other locations in the city, has attracted thousands of country music fans to Horsham during its 11-year history.
Apart from the obvious economic benefits of so many people visiting the area, the festival has also raised almost $40,000 for community projects, including $33,500 for Wimmera Cancer Centre.
High quality
Horsham mayor Pam Clarke said the people of Horsham needed to ensure the festival continued.
“I am a great supporter. It is such a wonderful event for the community – not only economically but also socially,” she said.

VIDEO | PHOTOS| 2018 Horsham Country Music Festival

“It attracts visitors from across Victoria, NSW, South Australia and some even come from Queensland.
“It is such a high-quality event and it would be really sad to see it go. We can’t let that happen.”
Cr Clarke said the festival was important in the role it played in painting an overall picture of Horsham as a major events centre in western Victoria.
“From an economic perspective it fills our caravan parks and motels and generates business,” she said.
“From community perspective, it generates social connectivity across the country.
“Horsham Soundshell is such an iconic venue. Artists love coming here and performing there because the acoustics are so good.
“So we need people to take the initiative and come forward.
“The committee is tired and fair enough – they have put in so much work and passion – we require people to help with a succession plan.
“Country music has a huge following and importantly, people travel considerable distances to be involved. It would be foolish for Horsham to miss out on the opportunities this presents.”
Mr Wheaton said he would soon be 72 and needed to spend more time with his family.
“I joined the committee in 2007 and have been association secretary and organised dinner and morning melody shows at Horsham RSL as well as being the festival co-ordinator. I thought it was time to slow down,” he said.
“We know how important the festival is to Horsham and we’ve had two meetings with the council. So we will see what happens and who comes forward. It might be individuals or it might be organisations.”

The entire May 23, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on May 23 2018

Posted by on May 23 2018. Filed under Arts Entertainment, Community, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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