Interview with Audrey Mates-Bills, Co-founder and President of the The Sunshine Renault Bonjour French Festival
Could you tell us more about the Sunshine Renault Bonjour French Festival?
The Sunshine Renault Bonjour French Festival is now in its 4th year. It has grown from one-day to a 2-day & 2-night event. The 2017 edition will take place in Broadbeach, the heart of the Gold Coast, from Friday the 10th of November to Sunday the 12th.
The three-day festival will start with a free French Movie Night on Friday (5pm to 10pm), and will continue over Saturday (9am to 10pm) and Sunday (10am to 6pm) with a rich Entertainment program with artists coming from local bands, New Caledonia and even France, performing Jazz, Blues, Cabaret and Hip Hop. Beside the Festival's Market and Wine Bar, you will also find dedicated kids and circus areas for a weekend full of fun!
On the Saturday at 11am, the Festival will attempt to win the Béret Guinness World Record, trying to beat the record of number of people wearing a béret. Free entry will be granted until 11am for people wearing a béret! Bérets will be available for purchase for $5 at the festival's entrance. Be one of our 2,500 record breakers, register here to participate!
On Sunday, there will be a special commemoration for the Paris attacks and the victims of terrorism in the presence of our war veterans.
Like last year, the Festival is a ticketed event. The entry will be $10 for adults including a drink, $5 for over 12 years old including a soft drink and free for children under 12 years old. You can buy you ticket in advance here. The entry will be free on the Sunday for people who bought a full price ticket on Saturday.
Set up at a primary location, Pratten Park on Broadbeach beachfront, the Festival is accessible by car, bikes and foot!!
Can you describe your personal background and your role within the Sunshine Renault Bonjour French Festival team?
I arrived in Australia 17 years ago. After becoming a mother, it became clear that I was missing many things from my culture and that I enjoyed sharing it with people around me. I started my own event management company, Voila Events GC, specialised in the organisation of all events with a French flair. I had been dreaming of creating a popular French festival in my home town for years, when I met Julia Baber, a marketing specialist, who happened to share the same dream. Noumea and the Gold Coast were twin cities so that totally made sense! Together and with the help of the whole community we created a not-for-profit organisation and turned the idea into a reality in November 2014. As the President, I supervise a team of dozens of volunteers during the festival and plan & coordinate the event year round with the help of young students from France who are doing their end of study internship with us. I am also on the front line when it comes to comes to engaging with stake-holders and seeking partnerships and sponsorships.
How do you envisage the future of your organisation and how can the French-Australian Chamber help you achieve your objectives?
It seemed natural to seek a partnership with FACCI as more and more French businesses are setting up on the Gold Coast. It is both an opportunity for FACCI to be present on the day and for us to gain in visibility within the Queensland French-Australian business community. Our objective is obviously to grow and to become financially sustainable. We invite your members to express interest, as our venue allows for 45 stalls and there are still some spaces available. We also invite your members to contact us if there are interested in joining us as sponsor in the future. We are very proud to count great names such as Renault, Veolia, Albatross Lawyers and the Gold Coast Film Festival as part of our main sponsors but of course would welcome new ones.
Interview conducted by Claire Dupré in September 2017.
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