Grievance Debate: Mount Gambier Fringe Festival

Wednesday October 17, 2018

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:20): I rise to talk about the Fringe in Mount Gambier. In 2017, Mount Gambier hosted its first Fringe Festival. This year the festival attracted over 13,000 participants. A major source of funding for this event was provided by the previous Labor state government. I raised these matters in a letter I wrote on 22 August this year to the Premier and I cc'd the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment:

The organisers of the event have done an outstanding job delivering a vibrant festival for regional South Australians. Preparations are already underway for a bigger and better event for 2019 but the committee has been hampered by concerns around funding commitments. A vibrant Arts scene is immensely important to regional communities and also gives South Australian artists an opportunity to showcase their talents to a wider audience.

To ensure the continued growth and success of this event and the promotion of arts in regional South Australia, I seek the support of the current Liberal government. As of today's date, I have not received a reply to my letter, hence my question today in question time. I would like to now read from a letter by the ambassador of the Fringe Mount Gambier, Louise Adams. It is a letter she has put together in promoting the Fringe Festival to sponsors and interested parties. Louise Adams, some might remember, was a finalist on The X Factor. These are her words:

The Fringe Festival in Mount Gambier is a cultural exploration that embraces acceptance and diversity. It gives agency to artists to be bold and present edgy, quirky art that is fun, entertaining and reflective of who we are as a community. The Fringe also gives licence to audiences to be brave and prompts reassurance that it's okay for a child-like curiosity to come out and play.

The Vision—next 3 years: Fringe Mount Gambier has been adopted with open arms by our community, artists and local businesses in its first 2 years, growing with excitement each year! Starting off as the regional little sister of Adelaide's Fringe, the largest Arts Festival in the Southern Hemisphere, Fringe Mount Gambier is quickly developing its own style and will proudly become our own. We envisage in the next 3 years, our Festival will be a prominent feature on our Region's calendar, attracting artists and visitors near and far!

With a blend of grass roots development (the 'Send ME To Fringe' initiative) together with focus on becoming a world class Festival for visiting artists, Australian and International; Fringe Mount Gambier has great potential to foster art experiences that are bold, daring and brave. All amongst the backdrop of our beautiful volcanic location.

We envisage a regional community proud of their annual Fringe Festival; where children grow with access to a Festival to enjoy not only as an audience, but also to participate in and develop their creativity. Our Festival will reach all ages, from youngest to oldest. Art is a communication that should be available to all. Fringe Mount Gambier will be that.

A Festival that provides countless benefits; a vibrant arts and cultural environment increases activity, including economic, and connection within the community. Young people and families want to live in vibrant towns/cities; more artistic creativity visiting our town, coupled with fostering homegrown talent, means Mount Gambier becomes a key location to live and visit.

Mount Gambier is half way between Melbourne and Adelaide, it is the epicentre of the wider South East SA and South West Victoria region (SESW). A major brand partner of Fringe Mount Gambier will get a unique opportunity for exposure not just in the SESW region but also through the expansive Adelaide Fringe Guide / Website distribution and Arts community around Australia.

We are—and I am as the local member—wanting that partner to be the South Australian government. Louise Adams concludes:

Fringe Mount Gambier brings Art to all! A Festival that brings Connection, Communication and Community through Art and cultural development, enhancing the attributes in a regional community with a strong and proud history, but an even more exciting and prosperous future.

We may be the little sister now, but the future is unlimited if we grow together!