Big new events centre ‘crazy'

BUILDING a regional centre aimed at accommodating events as large as Bluesfest or Primex around Casino, Kyogle or Lismore would be "crazy", Bluesfest boss Peter Noble reckons.

Mr Noble said major festivals needed to be backed by appropriate accommodation, and the Northern Rivers hinterland communities lacked the accommodation needed to cater to the 80,000-strong crowd that attended this year's East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

The idea has received cautious support from Northern Rivers Tourism head Russell Mills and Ballina Mayor Phillip Silver, although both have noted a lack of detail in the proposal from Primex director Bruce Wright.

Mr Wright has said a Northern Rivers Events Centre could provide space for existing festivals to expand while encouraging new ones to come to, or start up, in the region.

The idea has no dollar figure attached to it, although Mr Wright suggested it could be built in a private/public partnership, and names no location, although Mr Wright suggested somewhere in the Lismore/Casino/Kyogle "triangle".

Mr Mills said Northern Rivers Tourism would welcome any new infrastructure catering to medium-to-large-scale events "in keeping with the landscape of the region".

But he noted there were already other events venues on the coast, including Bluesfest's Tyagerah site, the new Byron sports complex, and, if it is approved, Splendour in the Grass's North Byron Parklands site at Yelgun.

Mr Noble said issues such as accommodation, transport and topography meant the best location for venues was on the coast, adding the Bluesfest site would easily accommodate Primex and its 50,000-strong crowd.

"I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but I am saying location is important," Mr Noble said.

"Whether they can create a site and be successful, it would need a lot of study done on that."

Anyone interested in the proposal can register support at



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