‘A Blend of Woodford and Falls’: Brand New Festival Targets Youth and Families

A unique festival experience that aims to unite music and art lovers from a broad demographic has launched on NSW’s far south coast.

Wanderer Festival founder Simon Daly has described it as a mix between the popular Woodford Festival in Queensland and Falls Festivaltaking place in a number of states.

The three-day event will be held in Bournda and features a huge music lineupincluding acts such as Ziggy Alberts, the Teskey Brothers and Sarah Blasko.

Mr Daly said he aimed to attract a mixed crowd of people to the festival.

“It’s for someone who likes going to festivals across the country and youth events,” he said.

†[Or] someone who loves a Woodford or Womad [festival]†

Simon Daly wants to attract a mix of people to the festival.ABC Southeast: Keira Proust

The event will feature three main stages for a range of performances, including music, art, circus, workshops and comedy.

There will be a stage for younger festival goers, one for families and one for a mix of both.

Event by the founder of Falls Festival

Mr Daly has a long career in the festival industry.

He founded the Falls Festival in 1994 and launched the Lost Lands Festival in Victoria a few years before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

He ran the Falls Festival for 20 years and said he hoped to give Wanderer a similar legacy.

He said he hoped to attract 9,000 people to the first and then expand to 14,000 for future events.

An aerial view of a festival
Mr Daly has also founded and directed the Lost Lands festival in Victoria.Delivered: Ben Vella

But running a festival on this scale is no small feat.

“There’s a reason something like this on this scale hasn’t happened in the Southeast before,” he said.

“We are definitely in the middle of everywhere, but in the middle of nowhere.”

The festival has received funding from the NSW government, which will provide funding through the State Significant Event fund.

Two 20-year-old girls with blond hair laughing in the sun
Residents of the far south coast, Sinead McLaren and Lili Postance, are excited about the new festival.ABC Southeast: Keira Proust

Local youth enthusiastic

Access to live music may be a given for most young people living in metropolitan Australia.

But residents of the far south coast, Lili Postance, 22, and Sinead McLaren, 23, said it could be quite hard to find.

“It’s always been a bit tricky,” said Ms McLaren.

Now they get the chance to see big acts in their own backyard.

“It makes me proud to be honest to have so many people around and show off our local talent,” said Ms McLaren.

“It looks promising and I think it will last for many generations.”

Ms Postance said she hoped the festival would encourage more young people to stay in the area.

“So it’s going to be cool to have that in our backyard now.”

A paddock with trees in the background
The festival is held on private property in Bournda on the far south coast of NSW.Delivered: Simon Daly

A boost for the local economy

The southern part of NSW’s coastline was hit hard during the 2019-2020 bushfires and also felt a huge financial impact as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Wanderer Festival operations manager Peta Lehoczky said she was one of many local people employed to organize the event.

She said the festival was an important part of the region’s recovery.

“After the fires and the pandemic, it is of utmost importance for the growth of our region and to bring tourism back here,” she said.

“We want to be able to support local entrepreneurs and give everyone opportunities.”

A woman in an orange silk blouse smiling
Peta Lehoczky has taken a job at the Wanderer Festival.ABC Southeast: Keira Proust

Festival organizers also plan to run shuttle buses during the event to give customers access to and from surrounding towns.

Ms Lehoczky said she hoped the event would help provide a necessary economic boost.

“If we boost tourism, the cafes will get a boost again and we can get more people to work there,” she said.

“And then there are the opportunities with the festival itself, which is just amazing.”

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