I had the great pleasure of getting on the road once more in June 2016 to meet with some of our fabulous community champions in outback Queensland. My trip took me from Gympie through Chinchilla, Roma, Blackall, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Julia Creek and Cloncurry as I weaved my way to Mount Isa in time for the start of Linsey Pollak's Live and Loopy Tour.
 
As always I was struck by the immense natural beauty of our state and enjoyed a rare spot of rain along the way - enough to cut the highway from Barcaldine to Longreach. Even more than the scenery I appreciated the opportunity to sit down and speak with some of the amazing people that keep our small towns so vibrant and culturally active.
 
The face-to-face time was so important for exploring new ideas, opportunities and connections. Through these conversations the demand for tours and performing arts experiences that engage local artists and audiences was highlighted.
 
Great projects like Inaugural Annual Dance Affair, Legend and the Locals, and Amaze Cardboard Labyrinth were hot topics because they provide bespoke experiences for local audiences and offer creative platforms to showcase local talent. Their approach is more about connecting high quality artists with communities and creatively exchanging new ideas.
 
It's an interesting challenge for producers to consider how they can meet this demand as they create new projects and concepts. The outcomes will be richer and connections far deeper so I welcome more discussion with anyone interested in this approach to community engagement and touring.
 
I also really appreciated the chance to spend time with organisers of Outback Festival in Winton and Heartland Festival in Blackall.  arTour is keen to explore how we can support these regional festivals and broker more connections with the many talented artists and producers around the state. As we start thinking about Showcase and Roadcase once more it's a great opportunity for arTour to think about how festivals fit in our planning.
 
Thanks to all those who made time to meet me and I look forward to continuing the conversations we started.