Two of Yamba’s greatest assets, its 150-year-old lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean, were perfect backdrops for five members of Yamba’s event management team, Live Prawn Productions Inc, to launch their new website ‘We Love Yamba’ and new-look festival Yamba’s Festival of Comedy, Music and Arts (formerly Surfing the Coldstream).

The ‘We Love Yamba’ website is the new information hub for the Yamba River Markets, the Yamba Festival of Comedy, Music and Arts and the proposed Yamba Farmers Market.

Live Prawn Productions (LPP) Inc Chairperson Debrah Novak couldn’t be happier with the website and the festival makeover.

“It is such an exciting time for the LPP committee because the fruit of a lot of our weekly meetings and burning the midnight oil is realised with the launch of the website,” she said.

“It looks awesome thanks to some great photos from award-winning photo journalist Mike Larder and the Daily Examiner photographic files from previous festivals.

“Two years ago our committee received a $30,000 grant from NSW Industry and Investment (DSARD) to grow the festival into a North Coast regional flagship event.

“To do this we had to strategically have a good look at our festival and position it to capture not only a local target market but a discerning Northern Rivers market as well.

“The decision in the name change was to capitalise on the existing marketing opportunities that presented themselves last year when Yamba was voted the ‘Best Town in Australia’.

“We as a group could never have afforded that much advertising, however, we can piggy-back on it now.”

The festival makeover was done in consultation with long-time music industry expert Glenn Wright, who was one of the co-ordinators of Sydney’s Live Bait Festival and the current Mullum Music Festival.

Ms Novak said: “One of the key issues for LPP was to make this an annual festival and a sustainable one.

“We met with Mr Wright, workshopped ideas and his industry experience combined with our local knowledge will hopefully now see Yamba’s only cultural and lifestyle celebration given an extended life-line.

“The work we have done will make it easier for anyone who joins the committee to step up and run the festival and markets.

“A strong foundation means the festival can grow and better reflect the diversity and eclectic lifestyle factors that continue to enchant those who live here and for those who want to visit our beautiful part of the world.”

Some of the notable differences for the festival this year include the addition of comedy, food and literature, and all activities up until the Sunday will be venue-based.

“We wanted to broaden the base of the festival to better reflect and capture the existing family tourism footprint and at the same time involve the licensed venues,” Ms Novak said.

“By utilising the existing venues and their areas of expertise we can invest the money that was previously used in setting up the festival infrastructure into a more diverse range of activities and at the same time keep our costs down.

“The main thing now is the festival is an all-weather event.

The Live Prawn Productions team has also created a new brand around the ‘We Love Yamba’ tag which they hope will promote the town and event far and wide. The ‘We Love Yamba’ tag and Facebook page surfaced as a response to the Valentine’s Day riot in Yamba.

Ms Novak said: “We wanted to show people out there that Yamba wasn’t all doom and gloom and in actual fact you don’t have to look far to see all the great things.

“Everyone on the festival and market committee lives and works here because we all love Yamba. There are over 500 people on the Facebook site now and a lot of them were born here and have had to move away for whatever reason and this website is a way for them to stay in touch with a place they love and see what is happening in their home town.”

Along with the website and festival launch is the launch of two competitions both of which will get the creative juices flowing.

“Live Prawn Productions Inc wants to tap into the amazing graphic artists in the area and have two t-shirts designed,” Ms Novak said.

“One is to reflect the ‘We Love Yamba’ brand and the other is the Yamba Festival of Comedy, Music and Arts. There is only one prize for each t-shirt and that is a free family ticket to all events within the 2010 festival and one night’s family accommodation.

Check out the website at http://weloveyamba.com/

PICTURE: Five members of Yamba’s event management team, Live Prawn Production Inc, were out early for the launch of the ‘We Love Yamba’ website and new look festival on Main Beach, Yamba, (from left) Gary Brisbane, Bev Mansfield, Jen Smith, Ilma Hynson and (front) Kirra Muegge.