HAPPY DAYS: Carol Stacey, the woman behind the Ballina Coastal Country Musical Festival for the past four years, and Rotary Club of Ballina incoming president Michael Jones celebrate a rebirth of the event from next year.
HAPPY DAYS: Carol Stacey, the woman behind the Ballina Coastal Country Musical Festival for the past four years, and Rotary Club of Ballina incoming president Michael Jones celebrate a rebirth of the event from next year. MELISSA GULBIN

Rotary Club saves Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival

JUST when country music fans were drowning their sorrows with a bottle of wine and Patsy Cline, along comes Ballina Rotary Club to save the day.

At the recent lunch for the Rotary Club of Ballina, incoming president, Michael Jones, announced the club had decided to take over the management of the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival from 2016.

The festival, which was the brainchild of Carol Stacey, has been running successfully for four years under her guidance and with the help of many volunteers.

A lack of volunteers was one of the reasons the festival was unable to continue in its present form.

"The reaction to the announcement of its demise reflected strong disappointment from the community and a survey of last year's visitors confirmed that the value to the town's businesses, as well as the importance of putting Ballina on the tourist map, was too important to lose," Mr Jones said.

Ballina Shire Council has again assured financial support and, together with the efforts of Rotarians and Friends of Rotary, organisers look forward to growing the festival into a signature event.

"One thing we needed to be sure of was that Carol will remain with the festival as the experience she has gained over the past years will be invaluable to us," Mr Jones said.

"At a recent feasibility meeting, the Rotary Club of Ballina's board of directors voted unanimously to run the festival in June 2016 as the time frame for its usual October weekend was far too short. The Rotary Great Duck Race will remain a feature of the festival. It will be something for the whole community."



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