The Australian Celtic Festival has made the last eight of a prestigious competition to be chosen as the best event of its kind in the state.
On November 16, it will be up against seven other top festivals to see if it gets the supreme NSW accolade.
The organisers of the festival in Glen Innes feel a place in the finals is a big award in itself – winning would be the icing on the cake.
The people behind the tourism competition say they want to reward “businesses that demonstrate significant achievement throughout the year”.
The competition is organised by the Australian Tourism Industry Council which is made up of the main government and commercial bodies involved in tourism, so being nominated is recognition by the professionals.
Events are judged on a string of exact criteria, from business plans to how those plans are executed. Assessments are made of the visitor experience.
It’s a judgement on how well the festival is run, how attractive it is and if it “works” for visitors.
On top of that, event organisers are encouraged to plan how to use resources wisely.
At the Celtic Festival, for example, energy use through the day is monitored to see if ways can be found to minimise electricity consumption, say by holding events simultaneously or moved from one part of the day to another.
The category in which the Celtic Festival is nominated is for events which draw fewer than 50,000 people, so it’s not competing against the huge gatherings like the Mardi Gras in Sydney or even the Tamworth Country Music Festival (which is also nominated but in a different category for larger events).
But it is competing against the very best of the smaller, classy niche festivals.
The other finalists in its group are: the Byron Writers Festival, Canowindra (balloon) Challenge, the Deni Ute Muster at Deniliquin, Lismore’s Eat the Street 2017, Orange F.O.O.D Week, the Parkes Elvis Festival and the Splendour in the Grass festival at Byron Bay.
As the awards organisers say, it’s about rewarding “businesses that demonstrate significant achievement throughout the year”.
The hope of the Celtic Festival organisers is that success breeds success. Winning the award would generate publicity and publicity generates visitors – and dollars for Glen Innes.
Just making the final eight may well do the same.
The 2018 Festival will honour Brittany in France and the two Spanish regions of Galicia and Asturias.
It will run from May 3 to May 6.