‘Best Music Festival in the world’ hits high note in pearler long weekend
  • Thursday 08 October 2015

He’s played countless gigs around the globe during his 22-year musical career, but multi Aria Award winning musician Ben Lee rates the Caloundra Music Festival the best of them all.

Festival Director Richie Eyles said Lee was among a number of this year’s headline acts who heaped praise on the festival.

“Ben spoke directly to me during the weekend and said the Caloundra Music Festival had ‘the best festival atmosphere of any event of its kind in the world’,” Mr Eyles said.

“The family-friendly nature of the festival really struck a chord with Ben, who also said how terrific it was to see people of all ages at the festival interacting and being kind and respectful to one another.

“In addition to this, we also had the manager of Australian band the Badloves contact us today to say it was ‘one of the best Festivals they’ve ever performed at – great location, fantastic team and terrific audience’.”

A record attendance of 31,800 visitors lapped up the four days of blue skies, awesome music and outstanding entertainment across the long weekend.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the council-run festival had quickly become one of the region’s most significant major events.

“This is just the ninth year of the Caloundra Music Festival and the success and popularity it has built in such a short period of time is incredible,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“For a world-renowned musician like Ben Lee to speak so highly of this event is a credit to the hard working festival organisers and volunteers as well as everyone who attended.

“This event provides a direct impact of around $7.2million to the local economy but it also helps promote the Sunshine Coast to attract visitors year-round.”

Mayor Jamieson said Tuesday’s arrival of P&O cruise ship the Pacific Pearl provided another timely boost for local businesses and tourism operators.

“Hot on the heels of a bumper September School Holiday period and the Music Festival long weekend we had 1800 passengers and crew from the Pacific Pearl come ashore to sample the best of the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The weather was fantastic and our local businesses and tourism groups did another fine job showing our visitors a great time during their day-long stopover.

“Council has worked closely with P&O, Sunshine Coast Destination Limited and local business and tourism organisations to coordinate this opportunity to have cruise ships visiting our region and we’ll continue to provide active support to ensure we’re an attractive stopover destination on the cruise ship itinerary.”

Up to a dozen more cruise ship visits could be on the cards for 2016. A spokesman for Australia Zoo said any future stopovers would be warmly welcomed.

“Australia Zoo were thrilled to welcome visitors who travelled to the Sunshine Coast on-board the Pacific Pearl this week," the spokesman said.

"We noted above average admissions with the Pacific Pearl bringing in the most guests from a cruise ship docking in Mooloolaba. We’re excited to see more family-oriented crowds like these enjoying the Zoo in the future.”

The Surf Club Mooloolaba General Manager Anthony Johnston said yesterday’s P&O cruise ship visit saw an increase in trade.

“We had  more people than usual through both the bar and restaurant yesterday due to the P&O Cruise. We also saw an increase in the number of people who came into the Club for lunch,” Mr Johnston said.

“From our perspective, most of the visitors were in and out of the restaurant as they wanted to have a meal and then go and explore Mooloolaba.”

Pacific Pearl passengers were treated to plenty of music, entertainment and activity around the Wharf area as they prepared to be ferried back to the ship. Rockliff Seafoods provided samples of Sunshine Coast seafood and Buderim Ginger also provided local delicacies.