Warrnambool events scoop two major awards

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In perhaps the most challenging year ever for public events, the Warrnambool City Council has won two awards at a national awards ceremony, the only municipality in Australia to do so.

Online music festival “Get Around Warrnambool presents LoungeFest” won the 2020 Victorian Government Event of the Year award while neon-themed scavenger hunt “Solstice Searching” was deemed the 2020 Victorian Regional Event of the Year.

The awards were presented by Meetings and Events Australia, the largest professional events organisation in the country.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said the awards recognise the goodwill in the events space between Council, event partners and the broader community.

“Warrnambool is an events city. When there aren’t restrictions on tourism, event play a key role in our visitor economy, but they are just as important for local residents and they add a lot to the liveability of the city,” she said.

“While virtual concerts will forever be synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic, LoungeFest was one of the first events of its kind in Australia.

“The reason we could put the event together so quickly was due to the willingness of the local musicians and all of our event partners to get involved. Everyone saw what we were trying to create, and people watched in their thousands.

“With Solstice Searching, it was such a great concept, it could have worked at any time.

“With winter setting in on the darkest year for many people in living memory, it did so much to lift everyone’s spirits and put smiles back on faces.

“Running the event over two nights was incredibly successful too. The second night was even busier than the first as people scrolled their social media feeds and saw just how impressive it was, and they were so excited to go and see it for themselves.

“All-new neon artworks will be back in 2022 with Solstice Searching and the new Solstice Search Party to be annual events going forward, adding a bit of colour to our winter.

“So congratulations to everyone who helped to make these events possible. Thank you to the council staff, LoungeFest partners COAST FM/3YB, Fitz Media and Karen Thomson, all of the musicians and neon creative artist Carla O’Brien.”

About Get Around Warrnambool presents LoungeFest: Eighteen bands and musicians with ties to Warrnambool performed at the city’s first online music festival on Easter Saturday, April 11, 2020. 

The event was broadcast live on Facebook, with audio simulcast on COAST FM. 

Viewership peaked at 1800 simultaneous screens, instantly making the concert one of the biggest in the city’s history. 

All musicians were paid for their involvement.

About Solstice Searching: Solstice Searching was a city-wide scavenger hunt held on June 19 and 20, 2020. 

Participants followed clues to find eight brilliant neon sculptures at some of Warrnambool’s most iconic locations. 

The hunt was designed so participants didn’t need to leave their vehicle to enjoy it.