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Opal Festival Report – from Event Organiser

Overall the day was a success with a number of people commenting on how good everything looked. The attendance numbers were encouraging (over 1,300) considering the Festival was in the middle of the school holidays coinciding with two long weekends. There were almost 400 children who attended which is nearly double the amount of registered students at the local school.

The Opal Festival has traditionally been held over the Easter long weekend as it is the only weekend long enough to encourage past residents and tourists to travel to Coober Pedy. Fortunately, next year the Easter long weekend is the weekend before the school holidays so there will most likely be more locals in town.

Issues that have been identified, including the ones below, will be addressed for the Centenary Opal Festival next year.

The issue of sound is one that became obvious shortly after the official opening. Unfortunately the sound equipment was not suitable for the required purpose and alternative sites and equipment are being investigated for next year.

The bar was located away from the setting sun so that patrons could mingle without the sun in their eyes and as per the liquor licensee’s request, alcohol was kept within the confines of the tent. We will negotiate with the licensee to consider having the licensed area extended for 2015.

The security company Weslo apologises for the behaviour of one particular security guard. They were made aware of the unacceptable behaviour and immediately terminated his employment. Other security companies will be investigated for 2015.

Advertising in print media including the local paper, when not subsidised via sponsorship, is expensive and reduces the budget for attractions available on the day. Posters and flyers were released earlier than previously and an ‘Events Newsletter’ was published to try to compensate for the loss of other print media.

Next year, everyone who is manning a stall will be given a different coloured wristband to identify them to security, allowing them easier access to the grounds. The majority of stall holders who register before the due date receive their welcome pack, including entry passes, in the week leading up to the Festival. The stall holder form is available in hard copy from the Council Office and on the Opal Festival website: http://www.opalfestival.com.au/ and will be modified to include a place for site sizes to ensure that sufficient space is provided.

Everyone is invited to support this long standing community event and are encouraged to share their ideas and get involved at meetings held prior to the event. Unfortunately this year there was a lack of volunteers which did have an effect on the running of the Festival. We are looking for a dedicated member of the public to join our events team as volunteer Novelty Event Director to help the novelty events run on time. This person would be in charge of organising volunteers to run each event, assisting with events and keeping the MC informed with announcements. We are also looking for volunteer site assistants to help in the set up & pack up of the Festival and as spotters for cars and floats so that the transition from ‘parade’ to ‘festival’ is more streamlined. There are numerous benefits of volunteering for the Opal Festival including:

-        free entry

-        free meal (if volunteering for 3+ hours)

-        recognition in media releases and on the website/facebook

-        meeting new people

-        gaining experience (useful for resumes)

-        staying active and involved

-        contributing to the community

-        having fun

Holding a community event like the Opal Festival requires the commitment of not only the organisers but also the volunteers before and during the event, the community with constructive feedback and businesses and media in supporting the promotion of the event. We hope everyone will support the Opal Festival in 2015.

Contact Details
Lot 773 Hutchison St
PO Box 425
Coober Pedy SA 5723