A DECISION to extend a hand to the local community is working for the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.
The 2017 festival, held last weekend, drew music lovers from all over to the town and also lured many Port Fairy residents.
Choirs from Port Fairy’s two primary schools and the town’s community choir featured at the festival’s opening and closing concerts.
They shared the stage with high-profile performers such as Kate Miller-Heidke, William Hennessy, Taryn Fiebig, Mindy Meng Wang, the Tinalley String Quartet and festival director Iain Grandage.
This impressive mixture of talent lifted ticket sales nine per cent above the previous year.
This achievement had extra merit given the 2016 box office had been 20 per cent up on 2015.
Festival board member and Port Fairy resident Jennifer Whitehead said the weekend was a spectacular success with the local interaction a highlight.
“We always felt the festival was very relevant but we also knew we had to make it more inviting for the people of Port Fairy,” Mrs Whitehead said.
“The program developed by Iain Grandage united classical repertoire with jazz and folk and pop.
“All the music spoke to the theme of the festival which was migrations.
“Iain has a deep sense of place and country and that is why the theme worked so well.
“I think the festival has now embedded itself in a genuine way in the Port Fairy community.”
The success of the festival had a positive impact on the town’s economy.
The Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre reported strong occupancy rates at accommodation places in the town.
Traffic through the information centre’s doors was well up, with an average weekend day rate of 150 people raising to 300 during the festival.
Port Fairy-based Moyne Shire Council Jordan Lockett said the festival was a major drawcard.
“The Port Fairy Spring Music Festival is an international festival now,” Cr Lockett said.
“It has become so diverse and is capturing a younger, broader audience each year.
“People just love coming to Port Fairy and that is aided by the fact we have all these great festivals happening here on such a regular basis.
“The other great thing about Port Fairy is it is flat. People can walk around the town easily, going from venue to venue at the spring music festival was easy.
“Add in all the history you see along the way and it’s no wonder people love the place.
“The spring music festival is a great lead into what we hope will be another big tourist season.”