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What happened to the Narooma Blues Festival Ver 2.0

July 2018 saw a good turnout of interested members of the Narooma community interested in hearing more of the proposed rebirth of a blues festival in Narooma. Attending were members of the Narooma Chamber of Commerce executive, Councillor Phil Constable and members of Eurobodalla's Tourism and events team along with a solid core of locals to hear details of an event that was being laid out as a possible drawcard for the town to showcase Narooma and its surrounds to those who also love their music. The Narooma Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and the Eurobodalla Shire Tourism & Events Team said they had been working behind the scenes to support a new event proposed by Australian National Events who promote themselves as 'a boutique event company dedicated to delivering the highest quality, greatest value and the most complete event solutions.'

“Australian National Events bought a new level of expertise to our [oyster] Festival. Their problem solving is outstanding and the operational delivery of all program elements of the Festival exceeded our expectations. We would highly recommend Australian National Events and would enthusiastically use them again”

— Cath Peachey – Narooma Chamber of Commerce 2019 (source) Delivering the proposal for a new and exciting blues festival that will benefit Narooma and the broader Eurobodalla region were David White and Scott McDuff from Australian National Events. David White opened by saying he had a long association with Narooma and as a professional musician understood the draw of a festival and wanted to see the blues returned to Narooma. He explained that events such a festivals are primarily about destination and secondly about what you do when you get there fitting the brief of being able to bring such an event to the area.

He advised the meeting that such an event would showcase the region, return economic benefit and introduce "New People and new Money" the the tourism dependent economy. David explained that Narooma was very well positioned to provide the venue and that the community, if it were to support the proposal, could get behind the festival as both attendees as well as the beneficiaries that would see cafes full, shops trading and accommodation full to capacity. He remarked that the blues attracted an older demographic, a bracket with disposable money and the intention of the festival was to encourage new visitors to the area with an event that would encourage them to spend giving a positive economic return by lifting the profile of the region. Scott McDuff advised the intention to use local suppliers and to initiate a volunteerism around the event that would result in a community buy-in and bring about a collective involvement of the whole town creating an experience that was "unforgettable" Working closely with the Narooma Chamber of Commerce and Eurobodalla Council the festival is estimated to cost over $400,000. The pair described a ticketed main tent on Bill Smyth Oval with another on NATA Oval for the two and a half day event that is proposed for the October (4th to 6th) long weekend of 2019. Also suggested was the blocking off of Bluewater Drive from the roundabout to the wharves that would then avail itself of street stalls and a third stage. To extend the music event into the town proper there would be comparable smaller blues events run in the local pubs and clubs with opportunities to extend into the Kinema and into cafes. Keeping the performers to Australian and Kiwi artists would also mean that tickets were more affordable with a suggestion of a gold pass for the whole weekend of around $120. When asked how many tickets would need to be sold to break even the figure of 4000 was given however it was hoped the event would attract 5200 to cover costs and to provide a return back to the community by way of donation. With questions of community inclusion and marketing it was suggested that there could be Early Bird tickets sold to locals and Access All Areas VIP Passes to be won. There would also be opportunities for volunteer roles. When directly asked what might happen in the case where the event needed to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales the Australian National Events response was that the event would be underwritten to cover costs. The financial details of the venture were disclosed that the event was to be a not-for-profit and Australian National Events would produce the event for a fee covering everything from stage to lighting, sound to toilets and security as well as overseeing marketing, advertising and merchandising. Having "got the ball rolling" the Australian National Events team said that they would develop a clearer plan with the Narooma Chamber of Commerce and Eurobodalla Council to bring back to the table. In all it was a very good presentation. It was hoped that, with the solid support of the Narooma community to deliver the required volume of accommodation, the variety and quality of food and entertainment, the experience and the great weather that showcases the region, it should be the beginning of a great local festival putting Narooma firmly on the destination map for those who love their blues. The last that the community heard of the Festival was when the Narooma and District Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Inc raised it as a My Community Project earlier this year seeking public votes for $100,000 to go towards the $400,000 required saying "This event will be held in October 2020 and the funding used to engage a professional event management company who have a successful track record delivering music festivals and cultural festival events around Australia and have worked successfully with the Narooma Chamber to deliver the Narooma Oyster Festival."

Canberra may well have got the drop on the proposed Narooma Blues Festival with their upcoming Red White Amber & Blues Festival hosted by The George Harcourt Inn in Nicholls, ACT over the weekend of Oct 25 to 27th that has a three day pass for just $100 to see the Who's Who of Australian blues

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