Australian Catholic Youth Festival bookings flood in

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Australian Catholic Youth Festival Host Diocese Coordinator Kathy Campbell enjoys the moment last Friday afternoon shortly after ACYF Professional Officer Phillipe Sanders-Agius posts the latest registrations tally for the Festival – 11,227 young people and rising – to run in Sydney from 7-9 December. PHOTO: Peter Rosengren

It’s looking like the sky’s the limit for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney this December with the event clocking up a record 11,000+ registrations in a little over two weeks.

Bookings have shattered organisers’ expectations and Festival Director Kathy Campbell’s message is simple – “Keep them coming” – as Sydney continues to ramp up momentum in the lead up to the December 7-9 event.

Speaking to The Catholic Weekly, Kathy reported that the majority of numbers come from Catholic communities and schools throughout Australia, with country NSW showing perhaps the most enthusiastic support for the festival.

“We are so excited to hit 11,000 in less than three weeks. It’s fantastic. It’s overwhelming,” Kathy said.

“The response from Archbishop Anthony was ‘Wow’. We’ve been making sure that a lot of people have had a lot of information in front of them. And it seems to have paid off.”

The registration total, posted outside Kathy’s door, changed during the course of TCW’s conversation with Kathy, jumping from 11,188 to 11,227 (it currently sits at 11,825).

“We celebrated five thousands (several weeks ago) and thought that we might hit 10,000 by the end of June. So this is an incredible response from the youth of Australia.”

The announcement that celebrated Catholic singer-songwriter Matt Maher had been secured for the bill would have helped, Kathy said. And it won’t be the last, with news of several more international headliners yet to come.

“In addition to the number of school-aged people, it’s also exciting that there will be a lot of young adults coming – people who are not necessarily attached to a Catholic school,” Kathy said.

ACYF will soon be making an announcement about a special program of workshops and presenters for young adults (18-30).

Planning for the nuts and bolts logistics continue, with the ACYF putting out the call for the estimated 800 volunteers in a recent communiqué.

The team has also put out the call for potential stallholders at the ACYF Encounter Expo – “an interactive space for participants to encounter the breadth of the Catholic Church of Australia,” according to the ACYF website – announcing a 26 July closing date for expressions of interest.

ACYF has laid down a challenge to prospective stallholders, challenging them “to creatively re-imagine how (they) engage with participants, beyond flyers on a table”.

For more information about ACYF and how to be there, see acyf.org.au