A world-class festival featuring a long list of national and international superstars is coming to NSW’s Sapphire Coast in what is expected to help grow the status of the arts in the region.
The first-ever Wanderer Festival will be held from 23 to 25 September 2022 on a farm at Bournda, a picturesque locality between Tathra and Merimbula. It is billed as a multi-generation celebration of music, art and culture.
Wanderer producer and director Simon Daly, who was behind The Falls Music and Arts and The Lost Lands festivals, said the event was about post-COVID togetherness.
“It’s about tearing down the barriers of the last few years and facilitating human connection,” he said.
Heading the line-up are Ziggy Alberts, DMA’s, The Teskey Brothers and Winston Surfshirt along with soul singer Curtis Harding and legendary pop surrealists The Dandy Warhols from the US.
They are joined by Sarah Blasko, Jack River, Isabella Manfredi, Confidence Man, Josh Pyke, Emma Donovan and The Putbacks and the Pierce Brothers plus many more.
Far South Coast-based performers are also on the bill, including Benji and The Saltwater Sound System, Gabadu, Anactoria, Djinama Yilaga and The Bega Valley Men’s Choir.
Aside from the music, there will be theatre, comedy, circus and cultural workshops.
Mr Daly said he first came to the Far South Coast on a camping holiday, “fell in love with the area and its people” and he and his family never went back.
“It’s such a unique place here,” he said.
“For one there’s the obvious beauty, but the people themselves are just the most friendly, community-minded people you will meet.”
Because the region had gone through the Tathra fire in 2018, the Black Summer bushfires in 2019/20 then the COVID-19 pandemic, he thought, “I’d like to make a difference here if I can do that.”
The new festival brings together everything that was the family and children-focused Lost Lands and combines it with the Wanderer side, which focuses on regular and breaking artists.
South East Arts executive director Andrew Gray said the Festival “certainly puts the region on the map”.
“What the Festival is going to do will connect with audiences well beyond our region,” he said.
“It will introduce our region to those broader audiences.”
He said it would benefit the local performers on the line-up, who will connect with a much bigger audience and encourage visitors to look more closely at the region’s artists.
Mr Gray said when visitors come to the Festival and get to know the region they are more likely to return, so could check out other local offerings like the Cobargo Folk Festival and the Four Winds Festival.
He also said the festival is planned to be ongoing, which gave South East Arts opportunities to raise project ideas they thought could work for future events.
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the festival would attract thousands of visitors to one of Australia’s most inspiring destinations, which would boost the visitor economy of a region that has been badly impacted by successive years of natural disasters and COVID-19.
Pre-sale tickets are priced according to age group ranging from $30 to $100 for a single day ticket and $70 to $260 for a three-day festival pass.
Tickets went on sale on 3 June and sales are already strong. Camping and glamping options are available.