Agfest Field Days
Posted on 23 September, 2020
Tasmania’s premier Agfest field days are set to return to the paddock in 2021 following the development of an innovative new model to deliver large-scale events in a safe and compliant manner.
The Agfest Committee, comprising Rural Youth members aged 15-30, has spent endless hours researching, analysing, brainstorming, consulting and finalising the event blueprint for the 229-acre (96-hectare) Quercus Park site to ensure it complies with health regulations and social distancing requirements, as well as underpins best safety and wellbeing practice.
Moving the three-day field days to a four-day event for the first time, restrictions on daily patron numbers, additional entry and exit points, all tickets being pre-sold online to enable contact tracing, changes in exhibitor locations to reduce known crowd hot spots, and additional requirements for cleaning, hand sanitising and traffic flow monitoring are just some of the new compliance measures to be implemented.
Agfest Chairman Ethan Williams said the number one priority is protecting the health and welfare of all exhibitors, contractors, suppliers, sponsors, patrons, media, Rural Youth volunteers and all other members of the extended Agfest family.
“Agfest understands that we are working in a very dynamic environment and if our borders re-open or COVID-19 community transmission is evident in the State, we may have to further modify our planned operational model for 2021,” Mr Williams said.
“However, we are a determined bunch of passionate young Tasmanians and we have decided to have a crack at organising Agfest 2021 back in the paddock, because at the end of the day, that’s what we do best.
“There is no doubt that if we are forced to cancel the event at Quercus, we will be shattered.
“However, at this point, we are completely focused on delivering this mammoth event for Tasmania to stimulate the State’s economy and enable our exhibitors to generate much-needed leads and sales, as well as the community to learn and immerse themselves in all things agriculture.”
Mr Williams said his key commitment is to keep all exhibitors and other stakeholders up to date through regular strategic communications “as we progress through this crazy journey together”.
“We were heartbroken to cancel Agfest 2020 in the paddock, but thanks to the resilience of our volunteers and a much-appreciated grant from the Tasmanian Government, we were able to move the event into the cloud and attract more than one million page views,” Mr Williams said.
“The Cloud will again be apart of the 2021 event, opening at 5pm on Saturday 8 May after the paddock event closes.”
If Agfest in the Paddock has to be cancelled, Agfest in the Cloud will be extended from 5 - 15 May, ensuring the event opens as planned regardless of its location.
Some of the additional key changes planned for Agfest 2021 are:
• The event will run in the paddock for four days, instead of three, from 5 -8 May;
• All tickets will be pre-sold online to enable contact tracing;
• Hand sanitiser stations will be positioned around the site;
• Exhibitors will be required to develop their own COVID-19 Safety Plans and control visitor numbers to their stands at all times;
• The Craft Market will be moved from the large sheds to a new area to encourage safer traffic flow; and
• A new strategy involving the dispersal of food vendors to different areas around the site has been developed to further minimise crowd congestion at peak eating times.
Mr Williams said extensive modelling had revealed that increasing social distancing to four square metres per person would equate to 42,000 patrons per day on the extensive Quercus Park site. However, the Agfest Committee has agreed it will take further direction from the Tasmanian Government regarding guidelines for mass gatherings before announcing maximum daily patron numbers for Agfest 2021. The current goal is to achieve 60,000 patrons through the gates across the event.
He called on all Tasmanians to get behind Agfest and the dedicated volunteers who deliver this legendary event, recognised as one of the top three agricultural field days in Australia that injects up to $25 million each year into the Tasmanian economy.
“We’ve helped Tasmania for 38 years and now we ask all Tasmanians to help us to ensure Agfest can remain a huge contributor to the Tasmanian economy and Rural Youth can remain a viable organisation, developing the confidence, skills and capacity of the State’s young leaders.”
A new Agfest website is also being launched today at www.agfest.com.au, ready for online applications to be opened on 1 October. Successful exhibitor applicants will be notified by the end of January and online ticket sales will be launched on 1 February.