“A mix of Woodford and the Falls”: a brand new festival aimed at young people and families

A unique festival experience that strives to unite music and arts lovers from a broad demographic has launched on the New South Wales South Coast.

Wanderer Festival founder Simon Daly described it as a mix between the popular Woodford Festival in Queensland and Falls Partywhich takes place in several states.

The three-day event will be held in Bournda and offers a huge musical programincluding artists such as Ziggy Alberts, the Teskey Brothers and Sarah Blasko.

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

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

“[Or] someone who likes a Woodford or a 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, arts, circus, workshops and comedy.

There will be a stage for young festival-goers, another for families and one for a mix of the two.

Event organized by the founder of the Falls Festival

Mr. Daly has already had 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 deliver a similar legacy with Wanderer.

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

An aerial view of a festival
Mr. Daly also founded and ran the Lost Lands Festival in Victoria.(Provided: 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 before in the southeast,” he said.

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

The festival has secured financial support from the NSW Government, which will provide funding through its State Significant Events Fund.

Two 20 year old girls with blond hair smiling in the sun
Far South Coast residents Sinead McLaren and Lili Postance are excited for the new festival.(ABC Southeast: Keira Proust)

Local youth delighted

Having access to live music might be a no-brainer for most young people living in mainland Australia.

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

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

Now they will have the chance to see large groups in their own backyard.

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

“It looks really promising and I think it will appeal to many generations.”

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

“So it’s gonna be cool to have that in our garden now.”

A pen with trees in the background
The festival will be held on private property in Bournda on the south coast of New South Wales.(Provided: Simon Daly)

A boost for the local economy

The southern part of the NSW coast was hit hard during the 2019-2020 bushfires and also felt a huge financial impact when the COVID-19 pandemic started.

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

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

“After the fires and the pandemic, this is paramount to the growth of our region and to bringing tourism back here,” she said.

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

A woman in an orange silk blouse smiling
Peta Lehoczky landed a job on the Wanderer Festival.(ABC Southeast: Keira Proust)

Festival organizers also plan to run shuttle buses during the event to allow guests to get to and from surrounding towns.

Ms Lehoczky said she hoped the event would help provide a much-needed economic boost.

“If we boost tourism, cafes will start growing again and we can hire more people there,” she said.

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

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