Meat may take back seat at festival
By Will Jackson
A NEW name, a new focus, even a country music spectacular to rival the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.
Those were just a few of the many ideas suggested at two community consultation workshops held yesterday as part of the operation to revive Casino's iconic Beef Week in 2008 .
The brainstorming sessions at the Casino RSM Club were run by consultant Lori Modd, of Sydney firm Lorick Management, who will use the information as the basis for a Beef Week business plan.
Suggestions included changing the event's name to something a little less 'confronting', like Casino's Choice Cuts, Arts and Agricultural Festival, turning it into an cattle industry-focused convention and giving it a 'cash cow' drawcard such as a massive, high-priced country music extravaganza to bring in punters from throughout the region.
However, not everyone thought the event needed a radical overhaul to be a viable proposition next year.
Lyn Mudford, who has volunteered at all but two Beef Weeks, said one of the reasons it was cancelled this year was many of the people who had kept it going were simply worn out.
"We just need a few new enthusiastic people with some good ideas," she said.
"I don't think it needs to change too much. Some more professional people on the management team would help." She said the festival didn't necessarily need to attract more people; the trick was to get those people to spend more while they were there.
"There needs to be some extra new activities," she said. She backed a proposal for one of Casino's main streets to be blocked off during the evenings for street parties, bands and farmers markets.
Former Beef Week Queen Nicole Reeves agreed, saying the basics of the celebration were good there just needed to be extras added on that would make more money.
"At the moment the only place for people my age to spend money at Beef Week is in the pubs," she said.
Northern Co-operative Meat Company general manager Gary Burridge said the festival needed more community support in the form of volunteers and sponsorship money.