The Wanderer Festival will return to Pambula in 2023 following the announcement of more funding by NSW Minister for Tourism and the Arts, Ben Franklin.
Minister Franklin was in Pambula Beach on Thursday (March 2) to make the announcement.
“It is a delight that I officially announced that the NSW Government has invested once again in the Wanderer Festival, that we will be funding the festival for this year and we will once again see three days of extraordinary music and comedy and circus and theatre and I can’t wait to be back and see it,” Minister Franklin said.
The 2023 Wanderer Festival will be held at the Pambula Sporting Complex again from September 29 to October 1 which coincides with the Labour Day long weekend in NSW and the ACT, and possibly the AFL grand final long weekend in Victoria.
Over 8,000 music lovers from across Australia made the journey to Pambula Beach last September for the three-day music and performing arts event, with organisers expecting over 10,000 this year.
Wanderer organiser and founder of the Falls Festival, who resides in the Bega Valley, Simon Daly, said the festival couldn’t have gone ahead this year or last without external support.
“We’re hopeful that we can get to the level of breaking even by the third or fourth year but in the infancy of the festival, without the support of the government, Wanderer Festival categorically wouldn’t have occurred,” Daly said.
“Getting that news (of the government funding) was just the best news for us and our team,” he smiled.
“The costs of running festivals is so significant, especially when you live eight to nine hours away from all of the equipment.
“We have more than 16 weeks to plan it this year, so I think everybody can expect an even better Wanderer Festival in 2023 and while the festival will grow it will keep it’s intimacy as well.”
In regards to what acts will play, the line up for Wanderer 2023 will be announced by early April however Daly confirmed some acts have already been locked in and the festival will again have two stages and more than 60 acts.
“We have two artists locked in, and about 50 invitations we’re waiting to hear back on,” Daly said.
“We’ll have more international and national talent this year as well as a good representation of local talent,” he said.
Pambula local and Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, was at the announcement and got emotion when he spoke about his involvement in ensuring the festival came to the Bega Valley.
“I said to Simon just after it (the 2022 Wanderer Festival), it was the best thing that had happened to Pambula for 40 years, he thought I was joking, I’ve been around a long time but I thought it was, I really did,” Mayor Fitzpatrick said.
“What it meant after fires, after floods, after everything we’ve been through and how the community came out and finally got to come together, it was Wanderer that brought us together.”
Candelo musician, Robyn Martin, who performed at the 2022 festival and appeared at Thursday’s announcement said it was one of the best events she’s been involved in.
“I’d play it again in a heartbeat if they’d have me,” Martin said.
“It’s such a huge thing for the community and to showcase local musicians as well.”
Minister Franklin said it was so important for the local visitor economy on the Sapphire Coast, bringing in between $2 to $3 million.
He said he was impressed by the enthusiasm with all involved in the all ages festival in which 26 per cent of the attendees were children.
“It’s great for everyone, great for those who attend, great for local businesses, it puts money into the pockets of everyone in the community and it has such a multiplier effect, and that’s one of the reasons why these festivals are important,” Minister Franklin said.
For access to presale tickets or more information visit wanderer.com.au
Images: David Rogers, James Fennessy – East Coast Radio