Schoolies on a Thursday night enjoy the Surfers Paradise beachfront. Picture Mike Batterham
Schoolies on a Thursday night enjoy the Surfers Paradise beachfront. Picture Mike Batterham

Big changes coming to Schoolies festival

A GOLD Coast entertainment giant and Schoolies bosses want to take over the whole beachfront festival to bring big acts to the annual celebration.

For six years, Cross Promotions owner Billy Cross has partnered with Schoolies.com to run a two-night concert on Surfers Paradise beach in the second week of Schoolies for NSW and Victorian graduates.

It costs $75 to attend.

The State Government's Department of Communities, in conjunction with emergency services, runs a free beachfront festival running seven nights during the first week for Queensland teens.

Schoolies on a Thursday night enjoy the Surfers Paradise beachfront. Picture Mike Batterham
Schoolies on a Thursday night enjoy the Surfers Paradise beachfront. Picture Mike Batterham

But Mr Cross and Schoolies.com CEO Matt Lloyd are proposing a new pumped up seven-night, week one festival with a single $130 ticket, the Gold Coast Bulletin can reveal.

The pair have already pitched State Government twice - last year and May this year - and are keen to do a deal ahead of next year's event.

Mr Lloyd: "Our argument is the week one event is free but there is a fair cost to council, government and emergency services to put that event on.

Schoolies from Southern States pictured stocking up on supplies and enjoying Surfers Paradise Beach. L-R Brittney Moorehouse, Declan Scott and Melissa Batsanes — plans are afoot to make the Schoolies beachfront festival one big fortnight with a paid ticket allowing major acts. Picture Mike Batterham
Schoolies from Southern States pictured stocking up on supplies and enjoying Surfers Paradise Beach. L-R Brittney Moorehouse, Declan Scott and Melissa Batsanes — plans are afoot to make the Schoolies beachfront festival one big fortnight with a paid ticket allowing major acts. Picture Mike Batterham

"We are proposing it would not be free anymore, students would pay somewhere in the region of $130 for a seven-night entertainment package.

"With the numbers we are talking about - 10,000 to 20,000 students - we'd use a lot of that money to put big-name acts in the line up."

Mr Lloyd said a lot of "negativity" was still held by some segments of the community towards the Schoolies weeks.

"But it is not going away and we need to embrace it, make it a positive and something the Gold Coast is proud of."

Billy Cross and his Cross Promotions have teamed with Schoolies.com to pitch State Government with an idea to supercharge the Schoolies entertainment festival. Picture: Jerad Wiliams
Billy Cross and his Cross Promotions have teamed with Schoolies.com to pitch State Government with an idea to supercharge the Schoolies entertainment festival. Picture: Jerad Wiliams

 

Mr Lloyd said there were several levels of council and government Schoolies.com needed to work with on the proposal - "and it may not happen if they want to keep doing it themselves".

Mr Cross, fresh from putting on Live and Foreigner for the GC600 concert attended by 10,000-plus, said the intention would be to finish concerts by 10pm as they do now so the Schoolies aged 18 can carry on in the bars and nightclubs.

Schoolies.com figures show 30,000 hit Surfers Paradise for the fortnight, shelling out $1600 each on average pumping $50m into the economy.

Mr Lloyd said rooms are almost sold out ahead of next month with under 20 left.

"We usually have rooms left in the 100s. I guess the Gold Coast has grown as a Schoolies destination."



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