Strand Ephemera 2017 hailed an overwhelming success

Date published: 8 August 2017

Townsville City Council’s ninth Strand Ephemera has been hailed a huge success with massive numbers of residents and visitors converging on the city’s foreshore during the 10-day sculpture festival.

Organised and delivered by Townsville City Council and supported by Glencore and a range of local businesses, Strand Ephemera 2017 attracted a record 155,000 visitors to The Strand from July 28 to August 6.

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the high visitation was due to a number of factors.

“While the artworks and workshops drew huge crowds simply due to the event’s reputation, the quality of the artworks and people’s past experiences with the festival, it was the combination of running the festival at the same time as the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the new Pop Up North Queensland event in the CBD that really helped bump up the numbers,” Cr Hill said.

“There was also a North Queensland Cowboys home game during that time and the car show on the Strand, so the atmosphere was just perfect to attract lots of people to Strand Ephemera this year.”

Cr Hill said visitor and participation numbers had climbed incredibly quickly over the past three events.

“We attracted in excess of 60,000 visitors to the 2013 festival and 138,000 in 2015, so the number just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

“We also had wonderful feedback from businesses who reported big increases in trade as a result.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Workshops and public programs and events including Dancenorth’s Tectonic and performances by the Poruma Island (Torres Strait) dancers, public tours, the public art symposium, artist meet and greet and the Fringe Ephemera event at Idalia drew in excess of 32,000 people.

One spectacular artwork that attracted a large crowd was Cloud – a mass of 6000 lightbulbs on chain pull switches - which drew 26,000 people during the 10 days.

Schools were also heavily involved in Strand Ephemera this year with about 2000 bookings from schools within the Townsville catchment as well as groups travelling from Ayr, Charters Towers, Bowen and Innisfail.

“To see so many visitors, particularly young families, flooding to The Strand, lapping up our perfect winter weather and engaging with art was just wonderful,” Cr Hill said.

“Townsville puts on some amazing events and this shows that we can all work together to offer residents and visitors a wonderful experience of our city.”

Cr Hill once again congratulated Gold Coast artist Erica Gray on her win and thanked the other local, national and international artists for participating.