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Music festival named Event of the Year

By Mark Beale

AT the tender age of just two-years-old, the Airlie Beach Festival of Music has received its first award.

The festival was announced as the winner of the Event of the Year award during this year’s Australia Day ceremonies hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Master of Ceremonies (MC) at Monday’s formalities, John Powell, said the festival had provided record trading weekends for many accommodation houses and retailers in the Whitsunday region, injecting an estimated $3 million per year into the local economy.

“Both [years’] festivals have received rave reviews from locals, interstate travellers and from surrounding districts and towns,” he said.

In addition to talking about the event itself, Mr Powell paid tribute to its founder Gavin ‘Butto’ Butlin.

“Gavin Butlin has almost single-handedly organised the events and without him, the Airlie Beach music festivals would not have happened,” he said.

“His vision and dedication [have] allowed many to enjoy a wide range of music while at the same time strengthening our local economy.”

Mr Powell also thanked the many volunteers involved in the event and the not-for-profit groups such as the PCYC, local state school, Lions Club and Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, who have all played a role.

Mr Butlin, who is already working on this year’s festival and consequently wasn’t able to be at Monday’s presentation, said later in the week that he was “stoked”.

“I love Airlie Beach and I love music,” he said.

“And I think we’ve created one of the best boutique festivals in Australia.”

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