One of Australia’s most spectacular festivals, Vivid Sydney, and the wildly popular Blues on Broadbeach have been named as some of the best events of 2013 as part of the prestigious titles at the Australian Event Awards announced in Sydney on Tuesday.
The coveted Australian Event of the Year for 2013, considered the ultimate prize in the Australian events industry, was awarded from what the judges described as a particularly close set of finalists, to the magnificent Vivid Sydney which transforms the Harbour into an impressive canvas of light, music and ideas.
The category winners are decided by a panel of industry judges but Australia’s Favourite Event goes to a public vote, which was awarded to Summernats – Canberra’s quintessential rev head festival. With a storm of activity on social media, over 90,000 votes were cast from across the nation.
In other categories, The 18th Biennale of Sydney which showcases contemporary art was named Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event.
In the sporting arena, Australia’s largest professional road cycling race, Santos Tour Down Under, held in South Australia came out on top.
Best Regional Event was awarded to Bluesfest Byron Bay, one of Australia’s most acclaimed music festivals, a long-time pioneer of blues music held at Tyagarah, north of Byron Bay on the NSW north coast.
Opera Australia worked with the Yarrabah Indigenous community in Far North Queensland and created, “Yarrabah! The Musical” which tells the community’s story and was judged Best Community Event.
The Electric Canvas was awarded Best Achievement in Design, Look or Theme for their work on White Night Melbourne.
Australia’s expertise in international events was also recognised with the Best Export Award going to Auditoria for their design of audio systems in the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Ceremonies.
“In the list of winners for 2013 we are thrilled to see so many different types of events being rewarded,” said chair of judges, Sandy Hollway, Sydney 2000 Olympic Chief.
“It is nothing short of a vital national imperative to shift towards clever, sustainable, international service industries. And the smartest, quickest, most cost-effective way to do that is to build on existing strengths. The events industry is one of those strengths.”
Mr Hollway said the industry contributes more than $22 billion to the economy each year and employs more than 260,000 people.
Director of the awards, Ian Steigrad said, “This year the judges reported a significant lift in the quality of applications and some very difficult debates were had in the judging room to select the winners… The winners will, deservedly, be elated but more than ever every finalist should be extremely proud.”