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Cultural celebrations to drive visitors to Tropical North Queensland

28 July 2018

Queensland has strengthened its position as Australia’s Indigenous tourism leader after the Yarrabah Band Festival today announced it will reschedule the annual event from November to July, starting in 2019.

Running directly before or after the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and in conjunction with annual NAIDOC Week celebrations, the one-day music event will be held in the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire, east of Cairns.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the change in date would create an annual month-long celebration of Indigenous culture in Tropical North Queensland.

“The Yarrabah Band Festival will stage its sixth event in November this year ahead of the move to a winter event in 2019,” Ms Jones said.

“This event has gone from strength to strength in recent years - more than quadrupling its audiences with almost 5000 attendees generating 2279 visitor nights for the region in 2017.

“The latest tourism data shows the new generation of travellers want unique experiences. We invest in events like the Yarrabah Band Festival because we know these events pay off for local businesses and provide visitors with an experience they can’t get anywhere else.

“The Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), will work with event organisers – the Queensland Music Festival (QMF) and the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council – to develop a five-year strategic plan to continue to grow the event, its positive contribution to the local economy, and encourage further engagement with the local community to deliver the event.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Yarrabah Band Festival is an initiative that celebrates the diversity of our music talent, showcases performances that reflect local culture, and delivers cultural tourism benefits to the region.

“This new date will give more people an opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique Indigenous art and culture that we have in Tropical North Queensland,” she said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to support QMF to deliver programs which work to transform communities, build local pride, and inspire our young creative minds, especially in remote and regional Queensland.”

Katie Noonan said: “QMF is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working with Yarrabah Council and community to take the event to the next level, supported by Queensland Government’s investment and recognition of the transformative power of music.”

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Ross Andrews welcomed the change in date.

“This complements other significant events happening throughout the region,” Mr Andrews said.