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New festival success despite a tough year

Vicky Lowry accepted the community event award on behalf of Play on the Plains Festival staff and committee members. Photo by Laura Green

Live music has been a much-ravaged industry over the last two years as COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have swept the country and the globe.

So it was apt when Edward River Council Mayor Peta Betts announced the Play on the Plains Festival as the community event winner for 2022, for its new late summer festival which was staged last year.

‘‘Hosting or planning to host any event, large or small in the last two years has been a commitment to hopefulness with COVID ravaging everything from travel to weddings, so staging a music festival is no mean feat,’’ Cr Betts said.

‘‘The organisers of the Play on the Plains Festival really have put Deni on the map thanks to the Ute Muster. And now with this event aimed at providing another reason to come to our region, they battled the odds to put on a fabulous event.’’

General manager of the Play on the Plains and Ute Muster festivals Vicky Lowry accepted the award on behalf of the board and festival staff.

After experiencing two cancelled Ute Musters, the Play on the Plains late summer festival was a way to bring tourism to an enlivened Deniliquin.

Ms Lowry said she was ‘‘honoured’’ to accept the award on behalf of Play on the Plains.

She thanked the community who ‘‘help to put our events on, without them we wouldn’t be able to put on our new event’’.

‘‘We had our challenges but we made it happen.

‘‘So we were very excited to make that event happen last year and fingers crossed we can do that again this year.

‘‘We’d seen a hole in what was put on for a demographic of 18 to 25 year olds, and it worked.’’

She said the social, economic and community benefit was clearly working, adding she is excited to continue building on that momentum.

‘‘We know it will be better without the challenges that we had. So we’ll be moving forward with this event for years to come,’’ she said.