ChillOut have announced changes to the management committee, announcing a new president and a renewed focus on involving rural youth in the festival.

Adam Wright, coordinator of rural Victoria’s peak HIV/AIDS body, Country Awareness Network, has been appointed president, after Doug Pollard stepped down recently.

Wright has been involved with the festival for many years and has been on the board for 18 months.

Sue Hackney, coordinator of rural youth GLBT groups WayOut and OUTthere, will join the committee in a bid to connect rural youth to the festival.

Festival director Jim Culbertson said the appointments fill important gaps in the committee.

-œWe’re always trying to find ways to make the festival more relevant and more engaging for young people in rural communities, Culbertson told Southern Star.

-œSue really represents that whole sector of people.

In his new capacity as ChillOut president, Wright praised Hackney’s years advocacy on behalf of gay and lesbian youth.

-œChillOut’s success is about being relevant to our community and no group holds greater importance for the future of ChillOut than young people, he said.

-œWe want young people living in rural communities across Victoria to develop a strong sense of ownership of ChillOut.

The WayOut project works in rural Victoria to raise awareness of homophobia and promote strong support networks for same-sex attracted young people.

In 2004 the project won a Victorian Public Health Award for Innovation.

Hackney said she was excited to be on the festival’s management committee.

Next year marks the 13th annual ChillOut festival in Daylesford -” the largest rural GLBTI festival in Australia.

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