Chill out, Daylesford festival set to celebrate love over five days in March

Daylesford’s popular LGBTQI ChillOut festival will remain a five day event in 2018, despite the organising committee’s previous hopes to extend the festival to a 10 day celebration. 

ChillOut Festival 2017. Picture: Kate Healy

ChillOut Festival 2017. Picture: Kate Healy

ChillOut Festival director Merryn Tinkler said the volunteer organising committee failed to secure funding required to extend the length of the event. 

But she said the future for the festival was bright, with the plan for a 10-day celebration remaining a hope for coming years, and funding to work on an economic development and feasibility study would ensure financial security. 

State government funding of $50,000 a year for three years has been dedicated to marketing and sustainability, while Hepburn Shire Council has committed to support the festival until 2020. 

Ms Tinkler said the team would now aim to grow the festival “organically” by planning an increased number of events for the Thursday and Monday of the celebration and at different times throughout the year.

“More events throughout the year is what is more sustainable for us as a volunteer committee,” Ms Tinkler said. 

“We will be doing a winter event and a spring event again this year.”

The Chillout Festival committee of eight volunteer members expect the festival to attract around 25,000 people to Daylesford across the five day event in March. 

The complete festival guide will be released this week while the committee continue to work on final logistics. 

Ms Tinkler said the legalisation of same-sex marriage added the potential to host weddings during the festival. 

“ChillOut has always been a celebration and a great space for like-minded people to come together. Marriage equality doesn't really change that, but the new reason for celebration is that all of that crap [postal survey] is over,” Ms Tinkler said. 

“It was a very difficult year for the community. It is definitely a reason to celebrate, but we have still got a lot of challenges ahead. There was 38 per cent of the population who didn’t think we should be legitimised, so we still have a long way to go.”

Visit http://www.chilloutfestival.com.au/ for more details and the festival program. 

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