A community’s economy will take a $42 million hit, with the local tourism operator announcing it had no choice but to cancel every event up until October.
A community’s economy will take a $42 million hit, with the local tourism operator announcing it had no choice but to cancel every event up until October.

Every festival scrapped until October in $42m tourism hit

Popular regional events KiteFest and the Moreton Bay Food and Wine Festival have been cancelled for 2020.

The shock move, announced today by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism, is likely to cost the local economy at least $42 million.

It will also disappoint the thousands of people who attend the annual events.

Last year's KiteFest in Redcliffe attracted 35,000 people while the Food and Wine Festival drew a crowd of 40,000.

MBRIT CEO Shane Newcombe said the decision to cancel all events up until October was made due to restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Also on the chopping block for the rest of 2020 is The Hills Festival, Abbey Festival, Caboolture Festival and Redcliffe Lifestyle and Garden Show.

The Jetty 2 Jetty fun run, due to be held in July, will be postponed until October, with a date yet to be determined.

Redcliffe Show Society last month announced it would cancel this year's event, due to be held in June.

And The Festival of Sails, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the Redcliffe Peninsula on Good Friday, was also cancelled.

Mr Newcombe said that thinking about the sheer number of people the latest cancellations would affect - and the amount of work that had already gone into organising the MBRIT events - brought him close to tears.

He said there was no doubt this would have an impact on local businesses and the economy.

"We worked out last year that, collectively, MBRIT events brought $42 million into the local economy," Mr Newcombe said.

A crowd gathers to watch the Jetpack Superheroes in action at Redcliffe KiteFest in 2019. Picture: AAP/Regi Varghese.
A crowd gathers to watch the Jetpack Superheroes in action at Redcliffe KiteFest in 2019. Picture: AAP/Regi Varghese.

"We have effectively cut our events calendar in half."

Programs, entertainment, vendors and other details for the events, particularly those due to be held in the next few months, had already been organised.

Mr Newcombe said they now had the hard task of calling those businesses and letting them know the news.

"The situation is so delicate and we don't know when the restrictions will be lifted," he said.

"We can't run a successful festival like Moreton Bay Food and Wine Festival without a good lead in.

"We can't postpone it but we are working with the Moreton Bay Regional Council to come up with programs to help those affected, one will focus on food tourism."

The popular annual Jetty 2 Jetty Fun Run in Redcliffe has been postponed to October due to COVID-19. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker.
The popular annual Jetty 2 Jetty Fun Run in Redcliffe has been postponed to October due to COVID-19. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker.

As it stands Moreton Bay Kids Fest, due to be held at Pine Rivers Park in October, will be the first MBRIT-run event to be held this year.

This would be followed by Christmas carols events from late November.

Originally published as Every festival scrapped until October in $42M tourism hit