Buskers Festival Reinvention

Posted: Thu, Oct 23, 2014
Filed under:

A busy Sept 2014 for Annie Blair with two festivals to manage in the one month. 

The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival (Buskers) was in its 14th year when Annie was asked by Coffs Harbour City Council to work on the event with local entertainment manager John Logan, Festival Director and self-confessed Busker fan.

This Festival model would differ from the previous 13 Festivals in many ways.

The challenge was to overcome:

  • community apathy in the event
  • sponsor apathy in the event
  • a $20,000 loss of funding from Council


  • Together with John Logan, Annie Blair set about redeveloping the Buskers brand, with a fresh new web site and brand identity
  • Annie developed unique and customised sponsorship proposals and went to the market extensively
  • Each Busking Act was analysed for its cost:benefit to the Festival, particulary those with significant travel expenses
  • Marketing was cut and streamlined for more impact - one 'four page wrap' around the local paper on the Sat prior to the event paid dividends
  • A drip-effect media relations campaign was enacted leading to six stories in the local paper, one in a local lifestyle magazine and two television news pieces covering the festival
  • Annie and John made quicker and more efective decisions once sponsor funds were not immediately realised - a change of venue to Brelsford Park, a changed event model with food and beverage stall holders and a cooperative event with a mobile stage truck


  • Record crowd mumbers 19,800 attended the 108 shows 
  • Significant assets carried over for future events - photo library, sponsor packs, new web site, data bases
  • Attracted new audiences to the Festival by the inclusion of a cooperative event with X Factor stars
  • Established a new location in a green space that allows room for expansion and fine-tuning of the event in a new format
  • Breakeven budget

What John Logan said "Thank you for your help & support during the festival. Your organisation, energy and good spirit was fantastic. Really appreciated it."

What Coffs Harbour City Council said: "Well done with the festival Anne you did a great job. I realy admire your professionalism, dedication and work ethic and it's been lots of fun working with you." Jan Rooney, Enterprise Project Facilitator - Industry.

What the public said: "I loved the Saturday Brelsford park show, it was amazing. Great music and fantastic entertainment for all the kids. It worked so well cause when the little ones got bored they could go and play in the park. Then in the arvo we could hear awesome music at the skate park. Please do it again next year. It was the best thing for the kids in the school holidays." Michelle Garland on Facebook.


Huge crowd numbers on Sat 27 Sept
Involvement by local young actors was a hit
King and Queen of Green - an idea of Coffs Council Waste Services was a hit
The hat was a staple source of income for Busking acts
Unique sponsor activation for McDonald\'s
Attracting a new young female audience
Crowds on Kids Day
< back home