Kids get creative and make sculptures in the eco-craft pavilion at the energy festival.
Kids get creative and make sculptures in the eco-craft pavilion at the energy festival.

Festival needs people to survive

SUSTAINABILITY was a central theme for the Bellingen Energy Festival but the event’s own sustainability has been called into question by co-ordinator Paul Nebauer.

He said it was a “lovely and enjoyable day” which ran smoothly and featured an impressive line-up of guest speakers and great music.

But numbers were less than half last year’s attendance – from 4000 down to about 1600.

“It was a busy weekend, with lots happening in the region which meant there was a lot for people to choose from,” Mr Nebauer said.

He said another factor for the low numbers could be the lack of government support for solar, namely the solar feed-in tariffs and the cutback in rebates for solar hot water.

However, there were some positives to having smaller crowds: the event was more relaxed and people had time for in-depth conversations.

Mr Nebauer said a memorable moment was seeing some of the children’s creations at the funky junk sculpture area and he also pointed out that Landcare had a wonderful day with all their talks quickly filling up.

Positives and negatives aside, Mr Nebauer has raised questions about the festival’s viability without increased support in the future.

“As it is, the festival is not sustainable and a meeting will be called to that effect.”

“Everyone is saying that it’s worthwhile and that we need to have it but for the festival to be sustainable it must have more support and more funding in the future.”



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