Easterfest’s Last Bow On A Shrinking Music Festival Stage - Hope 103.2

Easterfest’s Last Bow On A Shrinking Music Festival Stage

With heavy hearts, Easterfest directors have closed the curtains on the Christian music festival that invaded Toowoomba every Easter since 1999...

By Clare BruceFriday 15 May 2015MusicReading Time: 3 minutes

It was a heavy-hearted Easterfest director who closed the curtains this morning on the Christian music festival that invaded Toowoomba every Easter since 1999.

Easterfest's Final Bow

With a Facebook post and an email to match, Dave Schenk told event fans that organisers had “desperately wanted to find a way forward after this year’s festival”, but had realised the current festival model was no longer sustainable.

It’s the end of an era for the tens of thousands of fans who have been attending the annual Easter weekend festival in Toowoomba since its birth as the Australian Gospel Music Festival in 1999.

In the organisers’ official statement, board chairman Tony Gear said it was “the most difficult decision” he’d had to make.

“We understand it will take time for the Easterfest family to process this news,” he said.

The Worldwide Decline Of Music Festivals

The festival’s crowd numbers have been dwindling over recent years, going the way of many other music festivals globally in both the Christian and secular music markets.

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Australian festivals that closed over the past two years, according to write-ups by Fairfax and crikey.com, have included Harvest, Peats Ridge, Homebake, Future Music, Melbourne’s Parklife and Perth’s Soundwave, and even the Sydney stalwart Big Day Out, which closed this year.

On the Christian music scene, 2014 also marked the closure of Easterfest’s Kiwi cousin, Parachute – the legendary festival held in New Zealand’s Waikato district for 23 years running.

Within a couple of hours of Easterfest’s sad announcement, hundreds of people had shared the Facebook post and commiserated in the comments.

Event director Dave Schenk said he been “overwhelmed at the outpouring of support”.

“It’s been incredible to receive so many offers of assistance from all of the people who have made this festival such a great event,” he said.

“Easterfest has become a family to us and many others, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have given so much over the past seventeen years.”

Easterfest became an icon of Toowoomba, with the Queensland Government labelling it one of the state’s major events.

Easterfest A Celebration Of Jesus

Easterfest Packing Down

“Easterfest was a celebration at Easter, about Easter, and we can only give glory to God for what has unfolded at this festival,” Schenk said.

“It has been a privilege to gather with thousands of people to celebrate and remember the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Schenk issued a heartfelt message of thanks to festival crew and volunteers, thanking them for their dedication.

“Many of you have volunteered hours and weeks of time over the last 17 years to help create this amazing event that has influenced this city and a generation from all over Australia with the message of Jesus,” he said.

“Without you guys, Easterfest could not have happened.”

Schenk said it was his prayer that the closure of the festival would “make way for God to birth something new and for His name to continue to be made great”.