MUSICAL: Maggie Quirk , holding son Theo Jones, is passionate about music events.
MUSICAL: Maggie Quirk , holding son Theo Jones, is passionate about music events. Trevor Veale

Community champion in tune with entertainment

What do you do?

I am on maternity leave from my full-time position at Coffs Harbour's Coastal Media where I am a production manager and copywriter.

I am also a full-time mum and am currently working on the Bello Winter Music festival which takes place in various venues within Bellingen and is now in its second year. I am the regional publicist and general manager for the festival which has a small core staff of just five people at present.

What's the favourite part of your job?

Wow, it's very difficult to name just one. It's a challenging job with lots of deadlines and multitasking but it's extremely rewarding. Last year was my first experience being involved in an event of this scale ... I had previously just co-ordinated small, one-off gigs in a couple of local venues.

There is a lot of preparation work that goes into the event and also a lot of troubleshooting and support work on the ground to ensure everything goes smoothly. It is tiring but it is very rewarding seeing a crowd of smiling faces and dancing bodies interacting with an amazing band in a beautiful old hall, or church, or cafe and knowing you had a hand in making it possible. It's not heart surgery but I believe it is medicine for the soul. The atmosphere in Bellingen last year for the festival was amazing. I really hope we can achieve that again.

Where do you see the organisation in the coming years?

The beauty of Bello Winter Music is that it can only grow so big, so hopefully it will never lose that beautiful intimate vibe. There is definitely room for expansion though, as we decided to start small and grow slowly.

There are more potential venues that we would love to occupy in the coming years and it makes sense for us to add a few each year until we are at capacity. It will always be a boutique, family-friendly festival where artists can mingle with the crowd and enjoy themselves as much as ticket-holders. I believe this is a sustainable way forward for the arts in regional areas.



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