FREE: Mayor Matt Burnett said the Gladstone Harbour Festival will remain free to attend under his leadership.
FREE: Mayor Matt Burnett said the Gladstone Harbour Festival will remain free to attend under his leadership. Mike Richards GLA120417FEST

'Absolutely not': No admission fee for Harbour Festival

ENTRY to the Gladstone Harbour Festival will remain free for the foreseeable future.

That's the message from Gladstone region mayor Matt Burnett after council approved $114,500 of sponsorship for the festival at its recent meeting.

The sponsorship agreement includes $70,000 in cash - $50,000 for main stage infrastructure and $20,000 to sponsor the Sensational Saturday Night concert - with $44,500 of in-kind support for production, staging, audio and marketing provided by Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre and council.

As one of the only free community festivals in Australia, Cr Burnett was adamant it will stay that way when asked whether an admission fee could be charge for future events.

"No, absolutely not," he said.

"There can be separate ticketed events to draw income like they had with Jazz & Shiraz, but with the major industrial players in the Gladstone region and the celebration of the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race this is a free community festival.

"As mayor of the region I'm proud to support that and my council voted unanimously to support that for the next three years.

"There are many festivals in Queensland and Australia that were free that aren't any more and they lose a bit of their appeal.

"I want the festival to be for everybody and not based on how much money you've got in your wallet.

"I understand rides can be expensive and you can go there and spend a motser, but you can also go there and spend nothing."

 

Gladstone Harbour Festival Easter Street Parade for 2018.
Gladstone Harbour Festival Easter Street Parade for 2018. Matt Taylor GLA010418HFSP

While reducing the festival's dependency on council funding going forward was discussed during the meeting, Cr Burnett said his council would continue its support.

"They can go forward for the next three years - still subject to budget and a future council could say no - it's an in principle agreement," he said.

"Gladstone Harbour Festival is the biggest event in the Gladstone region... Council will always support it so it made sense to allocate funding for the three years."

The Gladstone Harbour Festival runs from April 17-21.



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