Pilbara’s premier music event, North West Festival, scrapped for multicultural food festival

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Amy Shark performs during the North West Festival.
Camera IconAmy Shark performs during the North West Festival. Credit: Town of Port Hedland/Town of Port Hedland

The Pilbara’s premier music festival, which has brought some of the nation’s top acts and bands to Port Hedland, has been scrapped.

The North West Festival was launched in 2014 and quickly became the Pilbara’s premier music event with a slew of top bands from across the country performing.

Known for its eclectic music line-up, the two-day weekender has featured well-known artists including Birds of Tokyo, Baker Boy, Spiderbait, and even Amy Shark.

The festival was a mainstay on the Port Hedland calendar, with residents from across the region descending on the town for two nights of live music.

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It was dropped in 2020 because of Federal Government bans on any gatherings, causing a major blow to the region’s economy, with more than 3000 people attending across two days in 2019.

Amy Shark performing at the North West Festival. Picture: Alexander Scott
Camera IconAmy Shark performing at the North West Festival. Alexander Scott Credit: RegionalHUB

The festival made a triumphant return last year with headline act San Cisco performing to a packed crowd at the Civic Centre Gardens.

However, the festival has been canned for this year in place of a food festival.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said while there would be no North West Festival in 2022, the Town was excited to be hosting the Hedland Food Festival in September.

Mr Carter did not directly answer a question from the North West Telegraph on whether there were any plans to bring back the festival in the future.

“The Town is committed to delivering a wide range of cultural experiences in alignment with our Arts and Culture Strategy and our Economic Development and Tourism Strategy,” he said.

“The Town continually reviews and assesses plans for the Town’s events calendar, providing opportunities for the community to connect, participate and celebrate.”

In response to a question on whether the Town was concerned of the impact losing the festival would have on tourism, Mr Carter said Port Hedland had a strong RV tourism sector.

“The new Food Festival aligned with the Town’s goals of fostering grassroots, accessible and interactive community events which celebrate Hedland’s unique multicultural identity,” he said.

“With a strong RV tourism sector, year-round community events, passionate advocacy from local groups such as the Port Hedland Visitor’s Centre and Council’s renewed focus on economic development and tourism, we anticipate continued growth in the tourism sector.”

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