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Thursday, 26 November 2009

I wonder how Bill Hauritz, executive director of Queensland Folk Festivals, is taking to the news that the Splendour in the Grass music festival is moving from Byron Bay to Woodford, in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands.

Woodford is home to the annual Woodford Folk Festival, which this time runs from 27 December to 1 January. 'Splendour' runs for three days from July 30. So although there's no overlap, large crowds will come for both events.

While some Byron residents must be jubilant the massive event has located elsewhere - at least for two years - Bill must be uneasy. A recent report that ran on Queensland ABC News showed Bill walking unhappily around the venue complaining about roads, swereage, and other amenities.

"To just simply build electricity, roads, that I've talked about, has been a cost that's forced our debt levels up," says Hauritz. The festival raises $300,000 each year in profits, but maintenance costs are double that, organisers say.

Organisers have asked the public to pledge money to a fund for amenities investments, including a sewerage treatment plant. They want to raise $1 million.

"That's out there a bit, and hopeful," says Hauritz, "but we've always been an optimistic crew."

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