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Fruitful move boosts buzz about festival

Hikaru Freeman of Joy 94.5 FM in Melbourne broadcasting live from Tropical Fruits.
Hikaru Freeman of Joy 94.5 FM in Melbourne broadcasting live from Tropical Fruits. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

THE festival may have ended but the buzz about the Tropical Fruits New Year's Festival is still heard across the country thanks to a smart move by the festival's organisers.

A dozen of reporters, photographers, cameramen and presenters were invited to Lismore last week to spread the word around the country of the 24th Tropical Fruits Festival.

The move is significant as 70% of tickets sales for the New year's extravaganza are sold in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

This year's party was the first one in almost 10 years to sell out.

Correspondents from specialised online, printed and radio gay and lesbian media outlets from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney covered the festival activities.

Miels Heffernan from gay online website Same Same titled his report: "Tropical Fuits was a triumph."

"Not just a dance party, the Tropical Fruits New Year's festival rocked Lismore, creating a temporary tent city and a line up that was jam packed with some of the country's best known DJs, while also throwing in an art show, cabaret club and pool party," said Mt Heffernan in his report.

Hikaru Freeman and Jillian Bartlett are the newsreader and presenter of Wake Up It's Wednesday at Melbourne's Joy 94.9 FM.

Mr Freeman, originally from the US, said the Northern Rivers have offered them an "eye-opening experience so far."

He found specially significant the welcome to country done by local aboriginal gender-bender Destiny Haz Arrived on December 29.

"We seem to believe that the big cities is where gay culture happens in Australia, but Lismore has such a vibrant community, we are amazed," Ms Bartlett said.

Mr Freeman confessed his first impression of the area was "a bit more hippie than I expected, but in a positive way."

"We are very impressed with the fantastic level of support from the business and local government community in the area.

"We do not have that level of outspoken support for the Midsumma Festival in Melbourne and that speaks highly of both the Tropical Fruits and the local council, especially Mayor Jenny Dowell," Mr Freeman said.

The Joy 94.9 FM radio presenters broadcasted live for three hours from the Lismore Showgrounds on New Year's Eve to an audience in Melbourne via radio and thousands online across the country.

Topics:  festival, lismore, tropical fruits


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