Big crowds meant big business at this year's Wintersun Festival.
Big crowds meant big business at this year's Wintersun Festival.

Cash flows despite woe

SWINE flu concerns and the global recession were not enough to undermine the success of this year's Wintersun Festival, which is being hailed by organisers as one of the best yet.

Now in its 21st year, the festival was thought to be plagued by a drop in ticket sales or classic car and hot rod entries as concern about the spread of swine flu, recession and the global financial crisis took hold.

But organiser Barry McNamara says car entries were up on last year and up to 100,000 revellers rocked the border area for the 11-day rock 'n roll nostalgia festival that finished on Monday.

“We were concerned that swine flu would stop some people from travelling, but it seems the outbreak of the virus in Queensland had negligible effects,” he said.

“The economy was a concern after experiencing a drop in car entries with an increase in petrol prices last year, but there seems to have been little concern about the economy. From what I hear from local traders there was a lot of cash being splashed around.”

Seeing the economic benefit of Wintersun “flooding the border area for everyone's benefit” was a highlight of this year's festival for Mr McNamara.

Some traders last year criticised the opening of Griffith Street to traffic, saying they weren't able to make the most of some of their biggest trading days outside the peak Christmas and summer periods.

“Griffith Street was still open to traffic this year, but there was more going on there to attract people, and we have had some positive feedback from some of the business owners and no complaints so far.”

Mr McNamara said while the festival will return to the border next year, its future in the area is still up in the air, and said he would meet with economic development group Connecting Southern Gold Coast, tourism operators and local government representatives next month to find a regular source of funding for the growing event.



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