Aaron Partridge, Nick Aitken, Dr Geoff Walden, Rachel Hogan and Linc Phelps jump for joy at hearing the news that the Australian Institute of Country Music has been allocated $687,000 in funding.
Aaron Partridge, Nick Aitken, Dr Geoff Walden, Rachel Hogan and Linc Phelps jump for joy at hearing the news that the Australian Institute of Country Music has been allocated $687,000 in funding. Renee Pilcher

Money is music to their ears

GYMPIE is on a fast track to become one of the nation’s major music centres with more than half a million dollars in funding allocated to the Australian Institute of Country Music (AICM) to develop a new industry for the region.

The announcement of $687,000 in funding is music to Dr Geoff Walden’s ears. He said it didn’t mean they were flush with money but it had the potential to generate significant and long lasting benefits for the Institute and the Gympie region.

“One of the challenges facing us is to develop the kind of creative environment that will encourage our artists to remain here in Gympie, as well as attracting other artists from around the country to study music through the AICM,” he said.

As well as providing AICM with enough money to employ up to seven people for a year, the funding will go towards finishing off the restoration of the historical Lands Office building where AICM is operate from.

The project, pitched to the Get Communities Working stream of the Australian Government’s Jobs Fund as “Go Country — Go Gympie”, will see the refurbishment of a World War II bunker into a recording studio and two rooms of the heritage building as offices.

“It’s pretty exciting...we want to develop Gympie as a real focus for creative industries in Australia much like Nashville is to America,” Dr Walden said.

“We’re not trying to put Tamworth out of business. We want to do something different with a focus on providing music education.”

At the moment, most of the work being done at AICM is unpaid and Dr Walden said the funding afforded him to offer several of the volunteers a wage for the year ahead.

“For the AICM to be successful now and in the future, we all need to work creatively and to think innovatively to stay ahead,” he said.

The program will create jobs in the building industry as well as assist in making Gympie a centre for the creative industries, said Senator John Hogg when he announced the funding on Thursday.

“It’s great to see community organisations create jobs and training opportunities for local workers, and build infrastructure that will benefit the community well into the future,” he said.

Gympie Times


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