Now in its 19th year, the Whitsunday Reef Festival has officially come of age as the Great Barrier Reef Festival, in a rebrand that strengthens the ties to its world-famous namesake.
Festival chairwoman Margie Murphy said she was proud of the new-look festival and what it meant for the community at the physical and spiritual heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
“This is the beginning of a new era for the Whitsundays and the festival,” she said.
“For 18 years, we have celebrated what it means to live in a community connected to the Great Barrier Reef, and now we want to share that with the rest of Australia and the world.”
Taking on the challenge of defining the new brand identity was Brisbane-based creative agency Nick Did This, whose portfolio includes projects with Tourism and Events Queensland and the recent rebrand of the Whitsundays’ Abell Point Marina to the Coral Sea Marina|Resort.
Nick Did This owner and creative strategist Nick Pritchard said creating a logo was always a great honour, and a responsibility he and his team did not take lightly.
“The team wanted the logo to be a celebration of the region and everything it offers, so we set about creating a colourful, balanced and joyous design that combined elements of the ocean (coral, seashells and fish), land (palms), and festival (fireworks),” he said.
“We went back and forth a few times with the Great Barrier Reef Festival team before we settled on the final iteration of the logo – and we’re glad we did.
“We can’t wait to see it roll out over the next few months and I personally am looking forward to kicking up my heels at the festival itself.”
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said the rebrand would ensure the event would continue to flourish both organically locally and on a national and international scale.
“Aligning with the Great Barrier Reef identity signals the next stage of growth and one that will showcase what the Whitsundays has to offer,” he said.
“We have something remarkable on our doorstep in the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s a fitting and exciting move for the future of the festival.”
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler echoed these sentiments.
“Destination events play a key role in helping to foster regional tourism and local economic growth,” she said.
“Events like the Great Barrier Reef Festival not only target new markets for visitation, but also play a role in increased length of stay, dispersal and visitor expenditure throughout the region.”
Murphy reiterated her gratitude to everyone contributing to the rebrand of the not-for-profit event.
“It would not have been possible for us to take this to the next level without the incredible generosity of the team at Nick Did This or without funding from Whitsunday Regional Council’s special projects grant that will allow us to reprint street banners and launch a new website,” she said.
The new website, www.greatbarrierreeffestival.com.au, is currently under construction thanks to Megan Taylor at Kapow Interactive, with ongoing graphic design support to be provided by Danny Stockow at Graphic House.
Behind the scenes, the festival committee is putting together the 2019 program of events.
This will include new, premium reef-themed products and events, as well as the return of festival favourites, spread over four days from 1 August to 4 August.