POSTPONED : Organisers concerned for the safety of the district made the tough decision to postpone the Miles Back to the Bush Festival. Pic: Supplied
POSTPONED : Organisers concerned for the safety of the district made the tough decision to postpone the Miles Back to the Bush Festival. Pic: Supplied

Miles Back to the Bush Festival on hold due to COVID-19

AS REGIONAL Queensland’s economy continues to struggle with the affects COVID-19 and the drought, organisers said postponing Miles Back to the Bush Festival was an extremely hard decision to make.

Miles Back to the Bush Festival secretary Tonita Taylor said the committee took seriously the risks the event might pose to the district, especially as coronavirus cases continue to spike in Victoria.

“It was a really tough decision for the committee to make, we tried to think about all the different aspects of the festival and what it does bring to the Miles and district community,” Ms Taylor said.

“We also had to consider the risk associated with it, especially if it we were to go ahead, and everything was cancelled again.

“We tried to do what was best for our community, district and committee.”

With visitors usually travelling across the state to attend the festival, Miles and surrounding areas will lose the boost to the economy that travellers usually provide while journeying through towns, eating out, and staying in accommodation.

Ms Taylor said thousands of people attended the last festival in 2018, with about 71 per cent of travellers staying in town for at least one night, which proved to have a significant impact for the Miles District.

Miles and District Chamber of Commerce president Racheal Kerwick said Miles will miss the revenue the festival brings in, but backs the committee’s choice.

“It would be great to see that visitor coin coming in, it would certainly help especially after the coronavirus process, but we support the committee and their decision,” Ms Kerwick said.

“Now everyone needs to get on board and together make it a huge success in 2021.”

The event is also a celebration of all things bush, Ms Taylor said the festival was originally a local affair, but organisers wanted the rest of Australia to experience the diversity and beauty of the Western Downs region.

“In 2016, the committee decided to restructure the festival to invite people from outside our region to help us celebrate all we love about being in the bush,” she said.

“Like many communities, our district has been impacted by the drought which not only affects the farmers, but also has a flow on effect to the surrounding communities that support them.

“So, with our love for living in the bush, and the need to boost economic growth within our community in mind, the 2018 festival was born.”

With the Chinchilla Melon Festival and Tara Camel Races coming up next year, Ms Taylor said it’s been difficult for the committee to decide on the new date for the festival.

“When looking at dates in 2021, it’s a difficult decision to make because there are going to be a lot of festivals postponed for next year,” she said.

“We might be looking towards the back end of next year, we’d really like to keep a date closer to the normal date in September but there’s still so many things to consider and conversations to be had.”

“We’re hoping to make that decision within the next couple of weeks so we can let every now and they can pencil us into their calendars.”