Agfest bid his for six

CAPACITY limits for Tasmania’s sporting stadiums were this week completely removed by the Tasmanian Government.

This now means that about 14,000 people can attend a game of cricket at Blundstone Arena this summer; or close to 20,000 for any games at UTAS Stadium in Launceston.

Meanwhile, the capacity limit at Agfest, an outdoor event in a space seven times that of either of these stadiums, remains unchanged at just 5000.

Making the announcement, Premier Peter Gutwein denied that the change was due to the Government’s bid to host the fifth Ashes test.

However, the increased capacity was strongly referenced in a media release the Premier issued that day about his Ashes bid, titled “Tasmania ready to make history.”

In contrast, last month a submission by Rural Youth volunteers to increase the capacity of Agfest to 15,000 patrons plus exhibitors and event staff on site each day was rejected by the Government.

As a result, the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania postponed Agfest 2022, from May 4 to 7 until August 24 to 27, due to concerns about running an economically viable event in May with a cap of just 5000 people.

The announcement regarding crowd capacity at sporting stadiums comes as shows continue to struggle under the Covid events capacity, an issue that Tasmanian Country has highlighted in our “Save Our Shows” campaign.

Agfest is an agricultural tradition and has been on the rural landscape since the early 1980s being held in May for more than 30 years.

Mr Gutwein said there was no doubt that Tasmania had the strongest case to host the Ashes cricket game with the state’s appeal.

“This includes our boutique stadium, the best air quality in the country, fantastic food and produce as well as our scenery and iconic locations,” the Premier said.

The Bellerive arena site covers an area of about 50,000 square metres.

Take out the 23,500sqm of grass oval, that leaves 26,500sqm for crowds, without factoring in tiered seating, for about 14,000 attendees, about one person per two square metres.

The Agfest site has an area of more than 350,000 sqm.

Under the current rulings, Agfest would have one person per 70 square metres.

A crowd of more than 4700 people, almost the size of Agfest’s limitations, packed in to the Derwent Entertainment Centre to watch the Tasmanian Jack-Jumpers debut games last week.

Agfest generates significant economic activity for businesses right around Tasmania, pumping in about $27 million to the local economy annually.

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