With the Olympics on the horizon, Queensland’s creative community should enjoy a multi-million-dollar boost that puts music “centre-stage” when the world’s eyes are looking to these parts.

The Palaszczuk government on Tuesday (June 14) confirmed $20 million in funding over three years, with the hint of more to come, to clear the way for Queensland Music Trails, an experience-rich project which ought to shine a spotlight on the creative arts sector, and lift tourism.

Starting in 2023, a “huge expansion” to QMF’s activities will kick off with trails created in four regions – Far North Queensland, North Queensland, the Outback, and South East Queensland – resulting in 16 new major events across the state.

These trails will provide more than 800 new jobs in the arts, injecting roughly $120 million into the local economy, say reps.

The project, explains Joel Edmondson, CEO of strategic music agency QMF, “takes two of the world’s favourite experiences – the music festival and the road trip – and puts them together to create a new type of holiday experience. But at the local level, it’s so much more than that.”

Each event along these trails will be curated to “express something of the unique personality, history, culture and natural appeal of place. It is for this reason that these will be events that are uniquely of Queensland, and will therefore not be able to be replicated anywhere else.”

Edmondson came up with the “kernel” of the initiative prior to the pandemic. “COVID gave us the opportunity, when domestic borders were closed, to trial it in the outback in 2021,” he tells TIO.

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With Brisbane last year named as host city for the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, the announcement “helped move (the trails) from being something many people were excited about to something that could justifiably be funded to prepare the state to host the Olympics,” notes Edmondson, former CEO of QMusic, organisers of Bigsound.

Babe Rainbow at The Long Sunset

The International Olympic Committee, he notes, is generally keen on host countries sinking money into meaningful projects. The idea being that people “come for the sport but leave with a memory of the culture of the place they’ve visited.”

With these trails in place, “this will become a globally iconic brand before the Olympics is on, so people have got more than just sporting events to come for. And it will live beyond the Games.”

Currently, QMF is looking after The Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival, Opera at Jimbour and The Long Sunset.

This partnership with state couldn’t have come at a better time. “The arts and tourism sectors have both been decimated by the pandemic,” notes Edmondson, “yet both are so critical to our ability to stage a successful Olympics, let alone live a healthy and fulfilled life between now and then.”

2021 Outback Trail

The trails is “an innovative new way for both sectors to work together to create new value for the people of Queensland. This is a real and meaningful way for individuals, communities and business around the state to collectively contribute to the vibrancy and livability of our places, and our appeal as a global destination.”

The seed funding, he continues, will enable QMF to work with communities across Queensland to lock down the final locations, and engage additional communities who the organisation will work with in the background over the first three years to “then bring online in the next phase as we move closer to 2032.”

Visit qldmusictrails.com for more.

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