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State Government delivers new country music festival for Mareeba

21 December 2019

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Far North Queensland will host the state’s newest country music festival in 2020, with Savannah in the Round to debut at Mareeba after the event was secured by the Palaszczuk Government this month.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the festival would be part of 2020’s Year of Indigenous Tourism.

“Year of Outback Tourism brought more than a million tourists spending $750 million to our regional and remote communities,” the Premier said.

“The Year of Indigenous Tourism gives us a focus to promote the Far North in the same way.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the new festival, to be held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in October, would attract more than 15,000 tourists to the Far North.

“New major events grow our tourism industry and create jobs – that’s what I’m all about,” she said.

“This festival will attract the best country music acts from across Australia and the world. It will also drive visitors to the Far North for a world-class cultural event right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said Savannah in the Round was a win for the Far North’s tourism industry.

“Far North Queensland has a rich history and culture. This event will showcase these attributes to the world,” he said.

“Savannah in the Round will have a strong focus on First Nations culture, which makes it a perfect fit for 2020 – recently announced by the Premier as the Year of Indigenous Tourism.

“Far North Queensland is the best place in the world to visit and live. Events like this help us prove that to thousands of people each year.”

Recent data revealed tourism was worth $3 billion to Cairns and now supports more than 28,000 jobs – more than 12 per cent growth year-on-year.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said with new events like Savannah in the Round, these numbers would continue to grow in the future.

“This event will deliver a strong return for the Cairns economy and will have a great flow-on effect for local businesses,” she said.

“Over the last five years, we’ve more than doubled the value of Queensland’s major events calendar which will generate $880 million for our state in 2020.”

The festival will be staged through a partnership between the Palaszczuk Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and event management company Sound Australia.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the festival was a welcome addition to the region’s event calendar.

“It is an incredible opportunity to showcase local and internationally renowned talent, including First Nations artists, in the spectacular setting of the Tablelands, an Outback experience just 60km from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Mareeba councillor Edward Brown said the festival would have something for everyone.

“We offer the amazing Tablelands, one of the best festival sites in the country, the Reef, the rainforest and the hottest line-up of country acts from around the world – it’s the perfect mix for visitors and locals alike,” he said.

Sound Australia CEO James Dein said Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds at Mareeba would make the perfect home for the festival.

“The Mareeba festival site is as good as I have seen in the country,” he said.

“With such great infrastructure and the incredible reef and rainforest experiences on their doorstep, I can’t imagine any international artist not wanting to put this great new event on their calendar.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for Tropical North Queensland and shows the state is again leading the way.”

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