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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Ukitopia Festival succeeds on creative spirit

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Organisers of the third annual Ukitopia Festival held last weekend say it was an ‘amazing community success’ given funding for the event was a fraction of last year’s.

More than 1,000 people visited the village for the three-day free festival showcasing the locals’ talents and creative flair, from music to performance and art, with workshops, storytelling and a historic photo display adding to the atmosphere.

Organiser Natascha Wernick said she was a little nervous at the outset of the festival with no outside funding apart from a couple of thousand dollars from Tweed Shire Council, ‘as opposed to last year where we produced the festival with an extra $18,000’.

’We cut back the costs, spread the load throughout the village involving more venues and more businesses. It was a calculated risk and it worked,’ Ms Wernick said.

She said the festival needed to raise more than $5,000 through donations, memberships, cash sales of art work and merchandise on day one and ‘as the money came in, the nerves changed to feelings of pride and delight as I realised that we, the Ukitopia Arts Collective’s organising committee and our Uki Community, had done it’.

’We had truly created three days of community for our community, totally funded by and created by our community,’ she said.

This year, four new venues were introduced, spreading the business throughout the village, while art installations were also a major feature and costume, props and fun ‘added to the playful vibe of the festival’.

Around 500 native tree seedlings were distributed free to festival-goers for regeneration purposes.

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