THE organisers of Townsville's Australian Festival of Chamber Music believe they have struck a chord but it has more to do with food than music.
The not-for-profit organisation has announced it will stage a food and wine festival in Townsville on September 12.
To be called Taste of Townsville, organisers hope to build on the success of the Chefs in the North Dinner which is held as part of the chamber music festival, being held from July 30 to August 7.
The event is an opportunity to fill a need in Townsville's calendar and fundraise for the chamber music festival which costs $1 million to run.
Australian Festival of Chamber Music general manager Yvette Braithwaite-Bragg said securing funding for the festival, now in its 20th year, was always difficult, despite the generous support of sponsors and government funding.
She said government officials always cautioned that funding could be cut or withdrawn and that organisations should try to build their cash reserves.
The economic climate had also affected the not-for-profit sector, especially the arts, with many organisations forced to reduce offerings.
The staging of a food and wine festival seemed like a logical addition to the Chefs in the North Dinner to help raise funding.
"One of the things we have found with the Chefs in the North Dinner is that for the last five years it has sold out three months in advance," Ms Braithwaite-Bragg said.
About 300 seats at $250 a head were sold and still there were more people wanting to attend.
She said 12 local restaurants, including Essence Restaurant, Watermark, The Gaff and The Coffee Club Cafe Bar Restaurant on The Strand, would take part, providing a focus on local restaurants and local produce.
Fifteen wineries have committed to the event and will provide food samples.
"We think we have found something that is really missing (in Townsville)," she said.
"The best thing for us is, it's our brand and a strong opportunity for us to raise funding that helps continue our festival for the next year and build reserves in our bank account for our core business."
Taste of Townsville, like the Chefs in the North, will be staged in a marquee on the lawn of Jupiters hotel with restaurants each offering two degustation sized dishes of North Queensland produce to sample.
The Jupiters pavilion will house winemakers, including Kalleske Wines, Crabtree Wines and Punters Corner, who will offer complimentary samples and wine tasting advice.
The event, which will also feature music from a traditional string quartet, will be held from 12pm to 4pm on Sunday, September 12.
Tickets, which cost $75 for unlimited food and wine, are on sale from the Townsville Entertainment Centre on 4771 4000 or www.tech.net.au.