Brendan Weatherill and Mark Pico want to bring big name groups to the Big Pineapple.
Brendan Weatherill and Mark Pico want to bring big name groups to the Big Pineapple.

Big Pineapple plans music festival

A MUSIC festival to rival Splendour and an expo to promote the Sunshine Coast's tourism industry are just two events in the pipeline for a resurgent Big Pineapple.

The appointment two weeks ago of Brendan Weatherill as general manager of the tourism icon marks a critical stage of its redevelopment.

An event organiser with a wealth of experience including running Brisbane's James Street food festivals and the Golden Days festival at Coolum in partnership with Mark Pico, he this week said the future looked bright.

The attraction's much-loved cane train ride will run again soon, the White Ridge Farm petting zoo is operating, as is the cafe with its famous parfaits and sundaes.

Weatherill and Pico have gone into partnership with the tourist attraction's owners and will in May next year put on the first Big Pineapple Music Festival over two days.

They say it will have a line-up capable of drawing an audience from interstate and overseas.

The goal is to attract 10,000 to 15,000 people each day to the over-18 event.

"It's going to be a cool line-up," Weatherill said.

"And the two-day Sunshine Coast Expo will highlight everything great about our region."

The festival will utilise the Big Pineapple's interior space as well as the slope into the valley as a seating arena with stages set up below.

The location, just off the Bruce Hwy on the Nambour Connection Rd, ensures easy access and eliminates noise issues.

Camping may also be offered.

The festival, on the May long weekend in 2013, will be coupled with a tourism expo aimed at convincing visitors to return to the region.

Mr Weatherill said the Big Pineapple's new owners were in it for the long haul.

He said the three partners' backgrounds in building construction, civil engineering and mining and logistics provided a fantastic mix of knowledge.

"Their values are set very high," he said.

"They are the best at what they do. They will see this in the right direction. This is not a short-term investment".

Mr Weatherill originally consulted on a makeover of the kitchens and other facilities.

He said a relationship had developed with the owners and they had checked out the staging of the Golden Days Festival to see if he and Pico had what it took to pull off a Splendour-style music event.

"We've really been starting from scratch," he said.

"It (the Big Pineapple) was severely rundown. There is an outstanding amount of work to be done and it needs to happen more quickly."

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