Northern Victoria’s gay and lesbian festival Spring Migration has been affected by Victoria’s recent rough weather with lower than expected numbers turning out.

Heavy rain poured down across the state on the same weekend resulting in floods in Myrtleford, close to Spring Migration’s hub of Yackandandah and Beechworth.

Spring Migration spokesman Gary Haywood estimated around 2500 fewer people made it to the September 4 – 6 event with roads becoming too dangerous for festival-goers to make the trip.

“This year’s festival was set to be a huge hit, until the weather brought down trees across roads and flooded most of the low-lying areas in the north-east of Victoria,” he said.

“Most people who called us on the Saturday afternoon, even though the [dance] party was going ahead, we [told them] the roads were way too dangerous to drive here.

“We didn’t want anyone to have an accident on the way to the party.”

Despite the bad weather, the Take Care OutBack There GLBTI Rural Health and Wellbeing Forum was hailed a success, with more than 100 people turning out to listen to speakers on GLBTI health issues.

Country Awareness Network Victoria (CAN) executive director Adam Wright said he was thrilled with the forum numbers, saying the only negative feedback received was the lack of soy milk during tea breaks.

“We are still excited by the success of this forum,” Wright said.

“The presentations, without exception, were fantastic, the audience was consistently engaged and there were plenty of opportunities for rural GLBTI people to voice issues important to all of us.”

The three-day health forum held in Beechworth covered issues such as sexual health, living with a disability, dealing with financial hardship, aged care, homophobia and violence and ensuring mainstream service delivery is sensitive to GLBTI needs.

Wright said a community café held with all forum participants was a highlight with the issue of better communicating with isolated communities the key point to emerge.

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