Whyalla’s inaugural uneARTh Festival has beaten some of the biggest events in the state to win the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Arts South Australia Ruby Awards.
In a record-breaking year for the People’s Choice Award, with close to 1700 votes registered, the 2017 Whyalla uneARTh Festival was crowned the people’s choice in what Ruby Award organisers said was a “heated fight for first place to the very end”.
Whyalla’s UneARTh Festival was voted by the people of South Australia as the best event in state in front of other big ticket items like the DreamBIG Children’s Festival, SALA Festival, Stirling Fringe and two Adelaide Festival events.
Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer and council’s Events Co-ordinator Rebecca Neilson attended the glittering award night at the Queen’s Theatre Adelaide on the weekend. UneARTh was a finalist in the Community or Regional Impact under $100,000 category of the prestigious statewide awards.
While missing out to the Coorong’s Creating Coonalpyn project in this division, Mayor Breuer said the People’s Choice Award meant more to Whyalla and the community.
“While it would have been nice to win the category as voted by the judges, the fact that our event got the most votes from the public throughout South Australia out of all these other events, is a magnificent achievement,” Mayor Breuer said.
“Effectively, our festival has been voted the best by those that actually attended the event and by the people of Whyalla who are obviously so very proud of it.
“Whyalla has not only shown it is capable of producing a world-class event, it is also showed the whole state how strong our community is and what a fantastic positive vibe we have going in our city.
“A huge congratulations must go to Rebecca Neilson and her organising committee for coming up with this event and for their wonderful organisation of it.
“The people have spoken and they’ve said our event was the best in South Australia this year.”
The 2017 uneARTh Festival was conceptualised by the City of Whyalla in conjunction with Adelaide Fringe Festival CEO Heather Croall and organised by a committee of community partners headed by Ms Neilson.
“This award means so much for the community and organising committee who did so much hard work preparing and conducting this event,” Ms Neilson said.
“Whyalla should be proud of this achievement and while there are so many to thank from the organising side of things, the biggest thank-you should go to the Whyalla community which embraced this event in just its first year.”