Cash injection

It’s estimated the Irish music festival, Turning Wave, brought a minimum of $90,000 into the Yass Valley last year.

The figure, based on the total number of visitors and the average amount spent, was announced at a meeting to debrief the Irish Music Festival.

But, with one successful festival under Yass’ belt, all eyes are now turning to the next one, in September this year.

The festival was moved to Yass in 2012 after many years in Gundagai.

It celebrates music, song, poetry and dance artists and focuses on Irish and Australian music.

Performances as diverse as acoustic, bluegrass, roots, Celtic and country can be enjoyed through an exciting program of concerts, workshops, exhibitions and events.

Both organisers and festival goers last year gave the thumbs up to Yass, with glowing reports of welcoming locals and excellent venues.

Festival director Norm Merrigan said visitors had said the town was very friendly, and performers were very happy with the performance spaces, which included the Soldiers Club, Yass Memorial Hall, local pubs and Oddfellows’ Hall.

More than 800 visitors came to town for the festival, from the ACT, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia.

“We had such a great response from last year, and now we’re just setting everybody up [for this year],” he said.

“Last year we brought in over the weekend an estimated $145,000… it’s economically good for the town,” he said.

Performers have until March 3 to get their applications in. And local artists are especially encouraged to apply.

Mr Merrigan said 20 performance applications had been received so far, and he expected to receive many more in the final week before applications closed. Last year’s event attracted a field of 200 artists.

Volunteer organiser Judy Pinder said the call for festival volunteers would be open in June, and those who helped out for six hours or more would be treated to a free festival ticket.

Volunteers were needed to check tickets, work in the office (located at the Liberty Theatre), help with backstage preparations, to look after the performers, and more.

Yass Tourism manager Sean Haylan said the inaugural festival last year was a resounding success.

“The three day format of the Turning Wave Festival ensures accommodation operators have the ability to maximise booking opportunities with minimum two night stays, the wider retail businesses in town benefit from increased visitors and just as importantly the community have increased activity in the town which they can participate in,” he said.

“During the festival in 2012 the information centre recorded a spike in visitor activity, and visitors from Sydney leaving town on the Monday following the event proudly announced they had ‘booked accommodation already for next year’ - testament to the success of the event.”

The sponsorship program is now open for any businesses keen to come onboard.

For more information and to keep an eye out for early bird specials, visit www.turningwave.org.au.

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