Promotion of regional festivals to benefit everyone

Dorothy Findlay, Orange fibre artist Lanny McKenzie, Wiradjuri representative Larry Towney and Vince Lovecchio from Orange Youth Arts Festival discuss ideas at the Rural Arts and Cultural Symposium. 1114symposium (1)
Dorothy Findlay, Orange fibre artist Lanny McKenzie, Wiradjuri representative Larry Towney and Vince Lovecchio from Orange Youth Arts Festival discuss ideas at the Rural Arts and Cultural Symposium. 1114symposium (1)

Collaboration and the sharing of ideas and knowledge was one of the biggest discussion topics at Saturday’s Rural Arts and Cultural Symposium, held in Forbes.

Forbes Shire Council’s director of tourism, cultural and community development Richard Morgan said collaboration between towns within the region is the most important thing to help benefit everyone and is something we need to work towards by promoting festivals and events throughout the region, not just in Forbes.

“Gone are the days when we sit in little silos in our own town or shire and don’t go beyond the boundary,” he said.

“Visitors to the area don’t see council boundaries, they don’t see that they’re now in the Forbes Shire, that doesn’t matter to them.

“We’ve got to think like visitors do to our region and let the barriers disappear.”

Mr Morgan said art and culture is vital to the community and the region as a whole and is a great tourist drawcard.

“The bottom line is it’s one of the economic drivers of any community - big or small,” he said.

“Culture is a way of doing what we do that is beyond our work and domestic lives...it adds something - something to do, something to celebrate.”

“It’s also really good in bringing money and visitors to town - travellers, aside from visiting family, are looking for that cultural experience.”

Mr Morgan said culture can incorporate many different things from the natural or built environment to the arts including art, music and performance.

“That could be going to the local pub and listening to the band,” he said.

Arts festivals are one particular way to boost culture within the region and something that many towns in the central west have.

However Mr Morgan said it is important to promote not just our own festivals such as the upcoming VANFEST or the Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, but festivals of our neighbours such as Grenfell’s Henry Lawson Festival, or Parkes’ Elvis Festival and in turn, they would do the same for Forbes because everyone will benefit.

“Festivals are events that everyone works towards and you get a boost in promotion for the town and it brings people from hundreds of miles around,” Mr Morgan said.

“VANFEST for example will bring all the young people to Forbes who have never been here before.

“It puts the place on the map and not just Forbes but surrounding towns such as Parkes and Grenfell and especially the towns that people have to drive through to get here.”

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