Status boost for Daffodil Festival

On stage are Jimmy Barnes, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour and Vika and Linda Bull. Photo: Mushroom Creative House

Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival has been named a shire signature event in Macedon Ranges Events Strategy 2021-25 after councillors pushed for the status boost last month.

The festival, which attracts at least 18,000 people over 11 days each year, was previously regarded as a tier-two event against the council’s rating system, suggesting it was of regional status only.

West Ward councillors argued the event attracted people from across the shire, regional Victoria, metro-Melbourne areas, interstate and overseas, and booked out local accommodation during the shire’s off-peak period.

“There’s a wide range of events that cover a huge range of different activities and the festival itself has been running for nearly 50 years,” Cr Mark Ridgeway said.

“When I went through and used the council’s scoring system…I actually came up with a score that put it into the signature event category – well into that area… Even being hard-nosed about the scoring still gets it to the top of tier one.

“When I compared it to existing events that have been categorised as tier one, none of them get close to the daffodil festival in terms of numbers.”

Events named in the tier-one category are the annual Picnic at Hanging Rock Classic Car Show, Hanging Rock races, Run the Rock, Mountain Writers Festival, Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial, Woodend Winter Arts Festival, Garden Lovers Fair, Macedon Ranges Wine and Food Budburst Festival and Macedon Ranges Spirit Fest, Winter Solstice.

‘Signature events’ of state or national status are of the highest ranking (above tier one, Macedon Ranges Signature events) but there are none currently identified in the strategy.

The tier rating system is used in the strategy to help determine event significance based on a detailed matrix that includes visitation, activity type, interest from outside of the shire and other factors.

The event rating can assist the council in making decisions including determining how annual funding can be fairly distributed if applied for.

While the Daffodil Festival’s current council funding agreement will not change at this stage, it was the recognition of the event’s true status that was important to festival organisers.

Festival secretary Marg Dearricott said the committee was “very pleased the festival has been acknowledged for the wonderful series of events that it is”.

Typically the event includes a parade, open gardens, art shows, markets, one-act plays, ferret racing, flower shows, musical performances and a range of other activities.

Ms Dearricott said festival organisers had already begun planning for the next event with daffodil bulb sales now under way.

“This year we’ll be doing the best that we can to make it complete in this pandemic climate,” she said.