There will be no busking on the streets of Woolgoolga during this year’s festival.
There will be no busking on the streets of Woolgoolga during this year’s festival.

Woolgoolga to miss out on busking

THERE will be no busking in the streets of Woolgoolga at the 2011 Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival.

A controversial move has been made to can the one-day extravaganza at Woolgoolga Beach Reserve in what organisers describe as "a lack of local support".

This year, the only busking event in town will be held at the Seaview Tavern on October 1.

Event organiser John Logan said dwindling audience numbers, coupled with a lack of support from the Woolgoolga and Northern Beaches Chamber of Commerce, is behind the move.

"We felt the last couple of years haven't been well supported in Woolgoolga," Mr Logan said.

"Our best year was probably 2007, and since then support has been dropping off.

"I've always said that we would bring the buskers to Woolgoolga, as long as we had the people to support it. With the numbers getting less and less each year, I don't think it's in anyone's interest to keep bringing it out there."

Courtney Tune, event co-ordinator for the Coffs Harbour City Council, said they had always relied on support from the business community to put on the buskers shows.

"(In) previous years we've been able to subsidise the Buskers Festival shows, including Woolgoolga, through financial support from our corporate sponsors," Mr Tune said.

"Unfortunately this year we lost two of our major sponsors, which meant that we asked for increased financial support from the chamber to cover the costs of the Woolgoolga Show. The chamber felt that the sponsorship costs outweighed the benefits and it was agreed not to run the Woolgoolga Show this year."

He went on to say there had been great success running the Woolgoolga shows on the Beach Reserve on the Monday Labour Day holiday, but the holiday hadn't coincided with the Festival and the shows on Saturday mornings with the markets.

Chamber president Aaron Hardaker said while they had previously sponsored the event, a request for the chamber to double its sponsorship dollars was unreasonable and not in the best interest of its members.

"It is a great shame that council and festival promoters have decided to leave Woolgoolga off the schedule for this year's event," he said.

"We have been in close consultation with the council about the matter and suggested that the timing of the buskers on a Saturday morning hadn't proved ideal, and also provided an alternative suggestion that would bring the buskers into the streets nearer to cafes, restaurants and shopping - but that option was not acceptable to organisers.

"It is both misleading and insulting for Mr Logan to suggest a lack of chamber support led to the buskers not coming - he did not partake in any consultation or communication about the decision and furthermore, could not make the effort to attend an organised meeting.

"We feel that there was never any compromise regarding the delivery of the busker's entertainment to our town, and as such we had no option but to deny the request for increased sponsorship. We hope that we can continue to work with council to ensure of return of the buskers with an increased benefit for all in the community."

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