IF THERE was ever any doubt about the level of support for the Peregian Originals concerts, it was quickly dispelled when more than 1500 people turned out to show their support on Sunday.
With council to vote this week on whether to cut the concerts back to monthly, a measure organisers said would sound the event's death knell, the message was loud and clear - "leave the Originals alone".
Long before the first performers took to the stage, hundreds of supporters - regulars and first-timers, young and old, locals and international visitors - began gathering in the Peregian Beach Park.
Their numbers continued to grow until there was a sea of smiling, yet determined faces. Early arrivals were greeted by the familiar face of event founder Jay Bishoff, who flew in especially from his new home in Bali.
"Welcome to 24 permitted concerts per year...we hope," he said with a chuckle and to a rousing round of applause.
"It's very exciting to be back.
"We all know why we're here, to celebrate under the winter sun in peace, in harmony, in living inspiration guided by wonderfully talented musicians and songwriters."
A recommendation currently before the council could see the number of Peregian Originals events reduced to 12 a year.
They would be allowed to go ahead with a concert on the first Sunday of every month, allowing an event to be held on the third Sunday that month if the first event was rained out.
The change would provide a reprieve for nearby residents who do not support the event and reduce the impact on the venue. Council will meet to decide on the event's future on Thursday.
The event was granted a temporary permit for two events a month until September 30.
Mr Bishoff said cutting Originals back to 12 concerts a year would be effectively signing its death warrant.
Anita Sweeney, president of East Coast Originals, which organises Peregian Originals, said the day was about showing council the strength of support for the event.
"We're very happy with the turnout and response. We had a good, peaceful crowd who really enjoyed the music."
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