Introducing Milbi Festival — celebrating turtles, arts and more

Bundaberg Tourism general manager Katherine Reid, Mayor Jack Dempsey, Gidarjil Development Corporation managing director Kerry Blackman and Cr Judy Peters join Flip the Reading Turtle to announce Milbi Festival.

Turtles, arts, culture and Indigenous heritage will be showcased during the Bundaberg Region's inaugural Milbi Festival in November.

Crush Festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, is being relaunched and expanded as Milbi Festival in 2019.

Milbi is a Gurang word for turtle and the festival will act as a celebratory opening of the turtle season.

Bundaberg Tourism and Gidarjil are supporting Milbi Festival and recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bundaberg Regional Council.

Council is seeking expressions of interest for events to be included. Whether it’s more public participation or discoverable art in unexpected places the possibilities are endless for the new-look event.

Building on Crush Festival foundations

Council’s Community and Cultural Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Judy Peters said Milbi Festival would build on the foundations of the last 10 years of Crush to herald an exciting new era in celebrating what's unique to our region.

“Crush Festival started in 2008 and delivered terrific outcomes for our arts and cultural sector as an annual event held each October,” Cr Judy Peters said.

“Moving the festival to November and aligning it with our prime tourism season provides an exciting opportunity to shape the future of this festival and tap into the creative economy.

“I believe the Milbi Festival will be an opportunity to come together and celebrate the best we have, our location at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and showcase our region on a number of levels.”

Cr Peters said Council was seeking expressions of interest from artists, arts organisations, schools and community groups for new events and ideas for the festival.

“It’s absolutely about Council getting behind our community, our local artists and community organisations and building new and exciting projects,” she said.

“It’s about creating something that’s uniquely Bundaberg that will spread our great name around the country.”

Cr Peters said Council had reappraised its goals under the new Arts and Culture Strategy and now has staff with the expertise and flair to drive a diverse Milbi Festival program.

“Creative Regions successfully managed the Crush Festival event for Bundaberg Regional Council from its inception and we can’t thank them enough for their years of guidance and assistance,” she said.

Event built on community partnerships

Gidarjil managing director Kerry Blackman said Indigenous people had a strong affinity with turtles, dating back to the Dreamtime.

“Mon Repos is the traditional country of the Aboriginal people that lived around Bargara and as such they were the custodians and guardians of both the land, sea, and turtles at Mon Repos,” Dr Blackman said.

“Mon Repos has always remained a special place to the Aboriginal people that lived around Bargara and it still does today.”

Dr Blackman said Gidarjil, with funding and support from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, works to protect the local turtle population and nesting environment.

Bundaberg Tourism general manager Katherine Reid said the start of the turtle season was a wonderful cause for celebration in Bundaberg.

“Quality events that showcase a region’s point of difference have the ability to drive visitation and create broad destination appeal,” Ms Reid said.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Council and Gidarjil teams on developing the festival program as a hero destination event for the Bundaberg Region.”


  1. How about events that support and encourage local artists and give them a place to regularly showcase their work. At the moment the focus seems to be on ‘out of town exhibitions’ and the locals are not catered for.

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