Sprinting from cars to arts and innovation | EDITORIAL

Southern Eyre Arts members Jack Ritchie and Tim Coote.

Southern Eyre Arts members Jack Ritchie and Tim Coote.

Forget Mad March, Lower Eyre Peninsula now has its own Awesome April – with a car race and a festival. Sound familiar?

Port Lincoln may still be recovering from the Easter long weekend’s Teakle Auto Sprint but there will be no time to relax this weekend as the region rolls straight into the inaugural SALT Festival.

With more than 100 items in the program at many and varied venues across southern Eyre Peninsula the old cliche ‘something for everyone’ certainly springs to mind.

The 10-day festival is a bit like our version of the Adelaide Fringe of the Festival of Arts but there is more to it than arts alone.

The innovation theme throws it wide open to people’s interpretation and the breadth of events and ideas will no doubt grow along with the festival.

With a relatively short lead in time for such a large-scale event, there are already preliminary plans for next year’s festival from people who were interested in having an event but could not commit this year.

It augurs well for the festival, which has not even started yet.

The idea behind the event was to showcase a mix of local and visiting talent; show locals what the rest of world has to offer and, in turn, show the rest of the world what Southern Eyre Peninsula has to offer.

It is great for locals to have such an event in their own backyard but it will also attract visitors to the region, hopefully – like the auto sprint – some who have never been to the region before.

In its inaugural year there may be limited people travelling to the region for the festival but as word gets out it has the potential to provide a similar economic boost – in relative terms – to the Adelaide Festival. At least that’s what the organisers are planning for.

And that’s another aspect of what SALT is all about – economic growth.

Based on the Adelaide Festival expenditure model, the Southern Eyre Arts committee originally expected the festival to attract about 5000 participants, half coming from outside the region, and generate a $3.7-million spend in the local economy.

This may or may not happen in the first year but it is something to work toward.

Adelaide is the place to be in March so lets support the SALT Festival and go along to plenty of events to make Lower Eyre Peninsula the place to be in April and when the fun dies down on the other side of the state at the end of March people will have somewhere else to go.