THE 10th AIRLIE Beach Festival of Music did not disappoint, with a kaleidoscope of colourful acts and brilliant music reverberating throughout the town, on the weekend.
From Friday, November 4, to Sunday, November 6, Gavin Butlin’s Airlie Beach Festival of Music welcomed 3,000 people a night to its waterside main tent.
With a further 600 people attending the pre-festival ‘Passport to Airlie’ event, and 300 people at the After Party, the Whitsundays has been well and truly alive with the sound of music.
Mr Butlin said he was still grasping the enormity of the metamorphosis and the $2.5m his ‘party in paradise’ is conservatively estimated to have injected into the local economy, this year alone.
“This year, ticket sales accounted for about two thirds of the attendees each night, with the rest made up of the bands, their entourages, the volunteers and crew we bring to town,” he said.
“Actual sales haven’t yet returned to pre-COVID levels but the only thing holding us back is the shortage of rooms we’re experiencing post pandemic, with some of our permanent and holiday accommodation having been withdrawn from the rental pool.
“That being said, over the past decade, the Airlie Beach Festival of Music has hosted more than 600 bands and welcomed over 70,000 attendees, generating somewhere between $15m to 18m in total revenue for the Whitsundays.
“There’s been blood, sweat and tears to get to this point and, although none of us knew quite how popular the festival would become, we did know Airlie Beach was the perfect setting.
“We’ve got jaw-dropping views across the Coral Sea from our main tent at the Whitsunday Sailing Club and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell people this is the most beautiful music festival in the world.
“Add to that the mix of headline artists and emerging talent we’ve become renowned for, and this has also gained a reputation for being a real music lovers’ festival.”
Musician Ben Lee described the festival as ‘a really nice production, with a good, diverse, line-up of bands’, while original member of The Animals, John Steel, said it had ‘great vibes’.
“This has been the last gig of our tour in Australia this year and it’s been the best gig – the best way to end the tour – thank you for having us,” he said.
In addition to The Animals and Ben Lee, main stage performances at the Whitsunday Sailing Club included the likes of Eskimo Joe, Jon Stevens, Rogue Traders, The Badloves, Masters of Pop and Mi-Sex.