The Weekly Advertiser

PHOTOS | Bumper Horsham Country Music Festival prompts hope

Lyall Wheaton closes the curtain on the last Horsham Country Music Festival.

Lyall Wheaton closes the curtain on the last Horsham Country Music Festival. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHER

By DEAN LAWSON
Visiting country music fans expecting Horsham Country Music Festival to continue into the future are already booking their accommodation for next year.
Festival co-ordinator Lyall Wheaton confirmed many people were pencilling in a 2020 date despite a lack of any group or individuals coming forward to take control of the event.
“There are many visitors who were so delighted in this year’s bumper final festival that they have already booked accommodation fully expecting it to continue,” he said.
“I can understand their reasoning. The weekend attractions exceeded all our expectations.
“We had record attendances at every event, with more than 1000 people spilling out of Sawyer Park on Saturday night alone.”
Horsham Country Music Association announced last year that this year’s festival would be its last because work had become too much for an elderly organising committee.
It has since been trying to find someone to hand over the reins.
Horsham mayor Mark Radford, concerned about the municipality losing the socio-economic benefits of the festival, appealed last week for people to analyse and assess its value.

Justin Standley at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Justin Standley at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

He suggested a post-festival community meeting might be appropriate to gauge interest.
Mr Wheaton said there was little doubt the four-day festival had been a major winner in attracting people to Horsham.
“On Saturday night in particular there were a lot of people around and a wonderful atmosphere,” he said.
“Without knowing the exact figures, we had about 700 at the soundshell on the Thursday night, 900 on the Friday night and well over 1000 on the Saturday night. Even on Sunday, the last day, we had 650 to 700 and then three evening dinner-show venues were full.
“People came from absolutely everywhere – we think about a third came from South Australia and we also had people from NSW and Queensland, as well as Victoria.
“We don’t know how much money that meant for Horsham, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It’s difficult to estimate the value, but we know seven or eight motels were full, both caravan parks were chockers and caravans at Horsham Showground were at capacity.
“It’s important to note how community-friendly and relaxed the whole event is.
“For example, despite more than 1000 people in one place on the Saturday night, there were of course no incidents involving alcohol or unacceptable behaviour. That is something we proudly hang our hat on.”
Continue?
Mr Wheaton said considering the weekend events were such a success it would be disappointing if it closed the door on similar festivals in the future.
“People were saying they like the size and environment of the venue, the stage set-up and sound quality,” he said.
“What’s clear in this is that the soundshell and Sawyer Park are wonderful assets.”
Mr Wheaton said the association would provide and support any group in a transition of operation.
“We can assist in running the event, but we would very much advocate that it continue in a similar format as a traditional country celebration,” he said.
“Supporters have voted with their feet along these lines for 13 years.”
Mr Wheaton said what was also obvious at the weekend was how valuable the festival’s autumn schedule was on the country-music circuit.
“There are other town councils, some that had representatives there at the weekend including Hamilton, looking for their own opportunity to establishing a country weekend. They are keen to fill a gap in the calendar,” Mr Wheaton said.
“We have a terrific time slot at the moment. A fortnight before us is a festival at Mt Gambier and then a week before us is one at Terang.
“There is not a lot of vacant time at the right time of the year.”
Mr Wheaton said Horsham councillor Pam Clarke, heavily involved in the festival formation a decade ago, spoke to a crowd and mayor Cr Radford attended Sunday festivities.
“The artists who performed were also fantastic,” he said.
“We picked the best from the previous 12 years and most went an extra mile to make the event special.”

Linda Brooks, Henny Sayers and Veronica Roberts at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Linda Brooks, Henny Sayers and Veronica Roberts at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Henny Sayers, Linda Brooks, Veronica Roberts and Dot Coffey at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Henny Sayers, Linda Brooks, Veronica Roberts and Dot Coffey at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Young performers Lachie and Georgia with Rhonda and Rod Owen at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Young performers Lachie and Georgia with Rhonda and Rod Owen at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Colin Morrell at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Colin Morrell at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Lorreen Anton and Ken White at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Lorreen Anton and Ken White at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Long-time MC Allan Carroll at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Long-time MC Allan Carroll at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Horsham Country Music Festival.

Horsham Country Music Festival.

Horsham Country Music Association president Colin Morrell at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Horsham Country Music Association president Colin Morrell at the Horsham Country Music Festival.

Roger Koch enjoying the Horsham Country Music festival.

Roger Koch enjoying the Horsham Country Music festival.

The entire March 27, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire March 27, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Mar 27 2019

Posted by on Mar 27 2019. Filed under Arts Entertainment, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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