Back from the brink … the country shows go on!

Published: August 23, 2023

It’s no secret that Covid played havoc with the events schedule across Australia, sparking fears that some well-established community celebrations might never return.

However, talk of the demise of swathes of country shows appears to have been premature.

The thinking was that, coupled with the logistical challenges of bringing events back after an enforced absence of a year or two, the pool of willing volunteers was shrinking and that society was simply evolving.

It’s only a couple of years ago that news broke that Julia Creek’s iconic Dirt n Dust Festival was being axed, with the pandemic labelled ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’.

However, a lot has changed since then.

This past April, the revived Dirt N Dust proved so popular that organisers had to create new camping areas to fit everyone. Dates for next year’s show have already been announced. It seems then there is an appetite for these events, after all … and they won’t die easily.

In June, when ongoing infrastructure maintenance issues led to the announcement that the Tennant Creek Show was being cancelled just weeks out from the event, Barkly Regional Council Mayor, Jeff McLaughlin, issued a call for community help.

Dozens of electricians, emergency services personnel and other volunteers quickly responded to try to make sure the show went on.

Of course, support from governments at all levels has also been critical in ensuring some events don’t simply slip off the calendar … and that new ones emerge.

In Victoria, Warrnambool City Council has just announced 26 local events will share in over $117,000 in grants, with 10 of these being held in Warrnambool for the first time.

The council’s Director of City Growth, Luke Coughlan, said the funds would ensure a range of diverse events went ahead. “For event organisers, it also gives them more surety,” he said. “Their event might not be until next year, but they know that they have council support secured, so they can plan with more confidence.”

  • Which events are you most looking forward to attending over the next few months? Comment below.


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There are a lot of retired “Tradies” amongst the Grey Nomad fraternity that would be willing to assist the local Shires set up showgrounds and such for annual events and shows, to minimise Council’s expences. The appropriate bodies need only to call for volunteers, well in advance of the programmed event.


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