20 December 2022

The Living End to headline state's award-winning Tumbafest

| Edwina Mason
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three-man band

One of the best live acts in Australia, The Living End will headline next February’s Tumbafest. Photo: The Living End.

Still jubilant after winning gold at the NSW Tourism Awards in November, that great mountainside gathering that is Tumbafest has opted for some real juice in its 2023 program with The Living End headlining the late-February event.

We tell you this now as a courtesy because tickets for the two-day Creekside event on February 25-26 will be hotter than your barbecue at Christmas.

The festival that began with a simple idea of mixing music with local wines is now in its 26th year and the fact it won gold in its 25th anniversary year is not lost on the locals, who are thrilled at its success.

In the wake of recent challenging years scarred by bushfires and COVID-19, they’re buoyed by an invigorating eagerness of visitors to the town.

The creekscape of Tumbarumba with its parks and robust trees is the perfect location for Tumbafest, which had its genesis back on a hot January afternoon in 1997 when a small group of friends was enjoying a local beverage.

As the wine continued to flow, the idea of Tumbafest was born – to stage a festival in Tumbarumba that would celebrate the cool-climate wines and fruits, provide a variety of food sourced locally and throw in some music for good measure.

The inaugural Tumbafest was held in the town’s main street, The Parade, with tables and chairs placed on the roadway and the back of a truck for a stage.

Publicity for the first event consisted of a letter to the editor sent to all newspapers within a 300-kilometre range.

Food stalls were operated by local service and sporting clubs, while anonymous volunteers circulated through the crowd, collecting money to hold the event again the following year.

band performing

A simple idea to have a festival showcasing the Tumbarumba region’s cool-climate wines and produce was – in its 25th year – recognised as the best festival in the state through a gold-medal win at the 2022 NSW Tourism Awards. Photo: Tumbafest.

Attendance was about 500 in the first year, and the street was restored to normality by 6 pm.

While stacking chairs and dismantling tables, the exhausted committee members were heard muttering “Never again!”.

Ha, ha. The solution was simple.

Tumbafest has since been moved to the Creekscape, just a block or a flight of stairs from The Parade, where there is plenty of seating, shade and space to move.

The festival has proven quite the drawcard for thousands of visitors to the town each year – and the good-measure move in the first year has seen the likes of Leo Sayer, Richard Clapton, James Morrison, Kate Ceberano, the Wolfe Brothers, Louisiana Shakers and Kasey Chambers grace that stage.

The Living End, by comparison, is a ferocious live act – so gird yourselves.

A band heavily influenced by Iggy Pop and a whole lot of “the’s”, as in The Who, The Jam and The Clash, the Melbourne-born outfit defines itself as rock ‘n’ roll with punk character and if you haven’t listened to them, their sound will absolutely blow festival visitors out of the water.

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The Living End holds the record for the most consecutive entries in Triple J’s Hottest 100 since forming in 1994 through the release of high-voltage hits including Prisoner of Society, White Noise, All Torn Down and Second Solution.

Nominated for 27 Grammy Awards, winning six, their debut album, ”The Living End”, was listed in the book 100 Best Australian Albums, and their performances have positioned them among the country’s best live bands.

If that wasn’t enough, this year’s ticketholders will have the opportunity to be born again through that other brilliant Aussie act, Bjorn Again.

This parody of the 1970s Swedish supergroup ABBA has even been endorsed by ABBA.

Formed in Melbourne in 1988, the band performed its first show on 6 May, 1989, and has now racked up more than 7000 in over 120 countries.

Bjorn Again is regarded by the global music industry as the most successful tribute act of all time.

Other acts set down for the Tumbafest 2023 program include country singer Travis Collins, indy folk duo Pierce Brothers, hippy country trio The Buckleys, DJ Nina Las Vegas, country pop singer Melanie Dyer, alt-country singer-songwriter Raechel Whitchurch, the Riverina’s own cover band The Mighty Yak, and Tumba’s own Captain Jack and Bethany Pike.

Tickets for Tumbafest will cost you $100 for general admission over the two days, or day tickets will be available closer to the date. They can either be purchased online here or at a streetside booth during the weekend.

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