El Grande organisers stunned by low turnout
A LINE-UP of ARIA award winners wasn't enough to attract a decent crowd to the fourth El Grande Festival.
The organisers are bitterly disappointed and say they won't put their necks out to stage an event of that scale again.
Nathan Bedford and Tim Price started organising this year's El Grande Festival in October.
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So it was a huge disappointment for the pair when only 400 people walked through the doors at the weekend.
"The turnout was just abysmal," Mr Bedford said.
"We would normally have seen a spike in the morning of pre-sale tickets, but it wasn't existent."
Mr Bedford says it is a kick in the guts.
"I'll be paying off the event for at least the next five years."
He said those who did go along provided positive feedback and said the event had run smoothly.
"The layout was good, it looked good and people were fantastic," he said.
"The bands enjoyed themselves. A lot of them hung around and met people afterwards.
"But before all this went down, I said if we don't get 500 people on Saturday then I won't do another one in Gladstone.
"I don't think I would be willing to stick my neck on the line again.
"I can't see me doing it again in this capacity unless something drastic happens and we get some good karma."
There were a few changes to the format of El Grande this year, with a Friday night pre-session in Brisbane, and the Gladstone festival extended to two days to accommodate people under 18.
Aria award winners DZ Deathrays and New Zealand act Tiki Taane were the headline acts, a line-up Mr Bedford said mustn't have resonated with people.
"The Saturday line-up was hot-right-now ARIA winners, a really good mix of up-and-comers and local bands.
"On Sunday we had the biggest single release artist in New Zealand's history perform. We were expecting that to translate into something ridiculous."
Mr Bedford said holding an event like El Grande didn't only benefit the arts community, but also the young people of Gladstone.
He said he wouldn't give up, with a casual reggae gig in the works.
"But thank you to the people that did come and for all the people that worked on the weekend."
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