Shows struggle to survive

THE future of two country shows is in doubt with the Casino Show cancelled and the fate of the Nimbin Show on the line.

The Casino Show Society this week announced it was cancelling its October show, blaming dwindling finances and ageing volunteers for its demise.

Nimbin is expected to decide this week whether it will proceed with its September show.

Casino Show Society president Martin Maloney said last year's show cost about $30,000 to run, but generated only about $7000 in gate-takings.

The Casino Show Society has been struggling for the past few years, with the society taking the decision several years ago to cut the event back from two days to one.

In Nimbin the struggle was to find enough volunteers to run the event, show committee member Ed Harris said.

A musical stage at last year's show had been a huge success, but without volunteers the show may not go on.

Lismore North Coast Nat-ional president John Gibson said the struggle facing the small-town country show was widespread.

“There is a crisis going on for many shows,” he said.

“Without business and community participation it can't work.”

The Lismore Show has managed to claw back from attendance numbers as low and 7000 in 1988 to about 30,000 last year.

Mr Gibson said the key was diversification. In 2008, the show introduced a sustainable living exhibition as part of its effort to move with the times, and it paid off.

The show now also features live entertainment, which showcases a broad base oflocal musicians, cooking exhibitions and local produce.

Mr Gibson said the community and businesses had really gotten behind the show.

The Mullumbimby Show enjoyed a successful return in November last year, after it too was cancelled in 2008.

Show society member Desley Creighton said the community had now gotten beh-ind the show, with 3500 through the gates last year.

Across the region, theBonalbo and Alstonville show societies said they were holding their ground, while Bangalow reported a resurgence of interest in its annual show.

“We are very lucky here,” show society member Karen Ryan said.

“It's been going brilliantly, we are growing like mad.”

Ms Ryan puts its success down to the work the society puts into giving the community a sense of ownership.

Mr Maloney was adamant yesterday the Casino Show would be back ‘bigger and better' in 2011




CANCELLED: Casino Show, October 16.


IN DOUBT: Nimbin Show, September 25 to 26.

GOING AHEAD: Alstonville Show, October 29-30, Bangalow Show, November 19-20; Bonalbo Show, May 6-7, 2011; Kyogle Show, October 8-10; Mullumbimby Show, November 12-14; Lismore North Coast National, October 21-24; Woodenbong Show, May 9, 2011.

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