Wingham Akoostik Festival has received a $20,000 cash boost just before the 2017 event is due to start on October 13.
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash announced on September 22 outcomes of the latest round of the Building Better Regions Fund Community Investments Stream.
Akoostik was awarded the grant to grow the festival through an improved marketing plan.
“It’s ready to go to the next level,” said festival coordinator Donna Ballard.
The plan is to grow the festival by 50 per cent over the next three years, taking the 2018 event from around 4000 visitors to 6000.
“Bigger sponsors would be the way to go,” said Donna.
To take the strain off the “lovely local sponsors,” Donna hopes to encourage national corporations such as Telstra or Toyota to invest in the festival.
“We don’t know how to create a sales pitch,” she said.
Donna expects the Building Better Regions grant will be used to secure the services of a consultant with experience in promoting large events in order to attract corporate sponsorship.
Akoostik applied for the grant a while ago.
“I’m thrilled they even liked our application,” said Donna.
“You never know how you’ll go.”
Akoostik might be ready to go to the next level but Donna and the Akoostik committee are aware there is a fine balance to maintain.
“I don’t want it to be too big,” admitted Donna. “We have to be careful.”
Feedback from festival goers over the years suggests it is the laid back, small town feel of the festival as much as the music which brings them back each year.
“We could easily get a little bigger without losing the boutique feel,” said Donna.