Sixty-six regional communities across NSW have been awarded funding from a program that supported the emergence of the Deni Ute Muster and the Parkes Elvis Festival.

Founded in 1999, the Deni Ute Muster has become one of regional NSW’s most unique and exciting events. Initially conceived as a response to the hardship of drought, the annual event now attracts around 20,000 people, thousands of utes, and millions in visitor spending to the remote regional community of Deniliquin. From its first year, the event was supported by the NSW Government’s Regional Events Fund which began in 1996 and has funded over 470 events.

The Regional Event Fund first started supporting the Parkes Elvis Festival in 2004, when it was attracting a few hundred people. It now attracts an estimated 25,000 attendees and generates $13 million in revenue.

In 2024-25 a new selection of sixty-six music, sports, food and cultural events will be awarded $1.3 million of grants of up to $50,000 each. The program provides an important economic boost in regional areas, creating jobs, injecting vitality and supporting accommodation providers, restaurant owners and tourism operators.

This year’s list of recipients includes:

  • The Tamworth Barbeque Festival where meat and motorbikes combine for a four-person team BBQ competition event and a motorbike rally.
  • The Gum Ball, a three-day festival on 100 acres of bushland in Lower Belford in the Hunter Valley with a huge line up of live music and a kids program called “The House of Big Dreams.”
  • The Orange Wine Festival, a two-week wine and food crawl through some of Australia's most beautiful wineries and restaurants.
  • The Festival of W sees the main street of Wagga Wagga transformed into a winter wonderland with ice skating, light and sound projections, live music; and premier dining experiences showcasing the produce from the regions agricultural sector.
  • Sporting events across the state, including the Pilliga Ultra, the Mount Panorama Punish, the National Freestyle Mountain bike Championships in Shellharbour and the Let's Surf Lake Mac event at Lake Macquarie.

The Regional Event Fund

The fund, managed by Destination NSW, bolsters event organisers with equipment hire, venue hire, market research, photography, videography, publicity and marketing to attract out-of-region visitors. The fund is a key contributor to the continued growth of the NSW visitor economy, which is now worth more than $50 billion to the state.

It has three streams designed to support event organisers to progress their offering and grow in scale, with the goal of replicating high-profile success stories including the Deni Ute Muster:

  • Incubator Event Stream: supports the establishment of events in their first or second year of operation, providing seed funding of up to $20,000.
  • Flagship Event Stream: supports the marketing of emerging events to increase their profile and encourage visitation. This stream offers an annual grant of $20,000 or a triennial grant of $30,000 for events that have already received the maximum of three annual grants.
  • Event Development Stream: supports the strategic development of events that are proven visitor economy drivers, that have completed their third year of the Triennial Flagship Event stream funding, are eligible for grants of up to $50,000.

To view the full list of successful recipients of the 2024/25 Regional Event Fund and for more information on the program, click here.

Minister for Jobs and Tourism, Arts, Music and the Night-Time Economy John Graham said: “We know that regional events and event owners are faced with significant challenges in this current environment and these grants will help alleviate some of that financial pressure.

“We want to help these events reach the heights of the Deni Ute Muster or the Parkes Elvis Festival, events that are now highlights of the NSW calendar. These unique events reflect the personalities of their communities and draw visitors from all over the country.

“The NSW Government is committed to growing a vibrant visitor economy across the state by supporting a diverse range of events, driven by locals, who know their communities best.”

Minister for Agriculture, Regional New South Wales, Western New South Wales Tara Moriarty said: “These events will bring fun, colour and a big economic boost to the towns that host them.

“Creating these unforgettable experiences will keep visitors coming back to regional New South Wales again and again, all year round.

“I congratulate the successful sixty-six recipients. These events will create great experiences for their local communities and drive vibrancy in local towns and communities across the state."