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Community & Business

28 October, 2023

Goin to Gil cost revealed

A few weeks on from the Goin’ to Gil Festival and its headline event Under the Gums 2023, Gilgandra Shire Council have published a report assessing the success and cost of the weekend which has revealed a budget deficit of $31,444.04.

By Andrew Tarry - Local Government Reporter

Despite a financial loss, September’s Under the Gums and the Goin’ to Gil Festival weekend was a huge success, with nearly 3000 people attending the head- line music festival. Photo by The Gilgandra Weekly: Andrew Tarry.

It would of very little surprise to residents of the shire that despite the council losing money through the event, it other- wise provided an economical boost and the more allusive boost of a positive impact on community spirit. In the September meeting before the Goin’ to Gil weekend, the council identified that a potential overspend of the budget for the festival was occurring and that an examination of the reasons behind this should take place.

The report with those details has now been published. Initially, Gilgandra council secured grant funding for the event from the NSW government through the Stronger Communities Program and the Community Events Program. 

 At the time of the successful grant application the council believed that the programs allowed tickets to be sold and subsided for all attendees. However, as negotiations progressed with the department the council were informed that only a limited number of tickets, known as the ‘Level Up’ area, could be priced with the remainder of the event free to access for the public. 

This determination by the government meant that the council would not be able to produce the quantity of income it had predicted through the ticket sales. There were also other components of the event which increased costs for the council. The additional costs will now be considered as part of the September quarterly budget review. 

Despite the deficit caused by the extra costs, the inaugural event is still considered to be a significant success. As well as the financial costs, the council also provided the results from data collected over the weekend. 

This came mostly in the form of surveys given to local business owners ticket holders, artists and the food and beverage vendors. Of the local business owners who responded to the survey, 43 per cent agreed that the festival had a positive impact on their business. 36 per cent stated a substantial or small increase in foot traffic in the lead up to or over the festival weekend. 27 per cent state there was a substantial or small increase in sales while 60 per cent said customers were a great mix of locals and visitors. 

It has always been the council plan that the festival would become self-sustaining. Council’s Economic Development Committee in collaboration with the Under the Gums Planning Crew aims to “extend the growth of Under the Gums, over a three-year plan, to go from a free local event to a sustainable flagship festival for the Gilgandra Region,” said Neil Alchin, director of growth and liveability in the report to council. 

The plan projects there will be $60,000 income in each of the next two financial years through the Stronger Communities Fund round five.

 Although the council does acknowledge to keep the festival funded the intro- duction of sponsorships and the decreasing of subsidised tickets is necessary. 2024 is just around the corner and soon the festival will be back with another bigger and better bang and boost for the community.

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