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Destination NSW Flagship Funding for Regional Festivals

The Saltwater Freshwater Festival and Mullum Music Festival have received  a boost through the Regional Flagship Funding program.

Announcing the funding during a visit to the NSW North Coast, Minister for Regional Tourism, John Barilaro, said the two festivals will share $50,000 with three other festivals – Coffs Harbour Running Festival, Sample Food Festival and the Woolgoolga Curryfest.

Minister Barilaro said in the year ended June 2014 visitors spent $15.5 billion in the regions; an increase of 2.3 per cent on the previous year.

‘Regional Flagship events are a great way to entice visitors to our regions to get a taste of what regional NSW has to offer. Holidays or short breaks to regional NSW provide many great experiences and memories, which can be enhanced by visiting one of these great events,’ he said.

The Saltwater Freshwater festival began in Coffs Harbour in 2010 and in 2015 will return to the major regional centre on Australia Day, January 26.

The festival honours, shares and celebrates in the spirit of country where the rivers rivers meet the sea, and gives people the opportunity to experience living Aboriginal culture on the Mid North Coast, home to the nations of the Gumbaynggirr, Biripi, Dunghutti and Worimi people.

The upcoming festival will feature acclaimed Aboriginal singer-songwriter Archie Roach and some of the best national Aboriginal artists.

Established in 2008, the Mullum Music Festival features free concerts at popular Mullumbimby locations including the Mullum Growers Markets, Santos, and the Civic Hall cenotaph; a street parade and free street theatre and circus throughout the festival. It also has a policy of a third local artists to foster the musical aspiration of the local northern rivers area.

Accolades for Regional Festivals and Tourism Attractions
The Tamworth Country Music Festival and Byron Bay Bluesfest have taken out Gold and Silver respectively in the 2014 NSW Tourism Awards Major Festivals and Events category. The awards were announced at a gala ceremony on Thursday, 27 November, to celebrate 25 years of the awards.

Of special interest to Regional Arts NSW was the win by Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo in the Unique Accommodation category. Recently the zoo donated one its fantastic Zoofari Lodge packages as the first prize for the monster raffle held as part of the Walsh Bay Arts Tabloe 2014. The dinner was held to raise funds to assist Regional Arts NSW to deliver the Regional Arts Australia national conference and arts festival, Artlands Dubbo in 2016.

One of the zoo’s most beloved animals, the rhino, has been adopted as a mascot for the conference with 200 small plush rhinos distributed at the RAA Summit, Arts and Edges, in Kalgoorlie in October. Conference attendees who received a Reggie rhino have been encouraged to take photos of the rhino and upload to Instagram with the hashtag #WheresReggierhino

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said Destination NSW was proud to support the NSW Tourism Awards, which recognised the drive and enthusiasm of the state’s tourism industry whose efforts ensured that NSW remains the most visited state in Australia.