Celebrating 40 fantastic Warrandyte festivals
by Cherie Moselen
6th December 2016
Warrandyte Festival 2017 will hit the town over the weekend of March 24-26. Pop it in your calendars, folks, because it’s going to be SPECtacular.
The theme is “Warrandyte Festival—since ’77: 40 Years of Fun” and it promises an extra special celebration in honour of the festival’s long-standing history in the township.
Warrandyte Festival was first held in April 1977 as an initiative of War-randyte Environment League (WEL). The idea “for all of Warrandyte to come together in a community festi- val, without the commercialism and exploitation of the more elaborate affairs closer to the city” came from Stan Stewart, local Presbyterian minister at the time and president of WEL from 1974-75.
Given the potent energy building in the Warrandyte community during the 1970s it’s not surprising more than one person suggested the town hold a festival, but in 1976, three WEL members – Patrick Nuzum, Anne Martin and Howard Geldard – got together to canvass support for it from the community, including the historical society and arts association, local traders, sporting clubs and councillors.
With a budget in hand, local lads willing to help with the sound and setup of equipment for a concert and Diary cartoonist Jock Macneish designing posters to let the town know what was afoot, the first festival got underway.
Forty years on, Warrandyte Festival is still run entirely by volunteers. As an event that has experienced longevity when many like it have finished up, it is somewhat unique in Victoria.
Warrandyte’s “big weekend” will feature much-loved events: the Grand Parade, Scouts Waterslide, Billycart Derby, Nature’s Play, Duck Race and Kids Market.
Food, of course, there will be glorious food. It’s always a good idea to bring your appetite—and dance moves.
Are you ready for this? Organisers will be putting on a ‘70s Disco! Think, “Saturday Night Festival Fever.” Get your gear out from the back of the wardrobe. I’m talking flares, Warrandyte. You know you’ve got them. Saturday night will also feature a variety of youth bands. Festival favourites Nudist Funk Orchestra will give Sunday’s Main Stage their funk- lled attention. And a blast from the past, Paradiddle – the mighty bush band who first played at the festival in 1978 and went on to close the weekend for the next 20 years – will make a special appearance. Warrandyte Festival is also creating a Light Sculpture Competition for 2017 and is asking participants to design, build and enter sculptures in a variety of categories.
“Rising Sun” is the category for schools, youth organisations and child prodigies. “Light Under a Bushel” is an adult category for those who are not professionals in this field but who are, nonetheless, in possession of inspiration.
Finally, “Sirius”. It’s the brightest star in our night sky and the category for professional artists and lighting technicians. The festival will work with applicants to identify a location that best ts the concept of their sculptures and maximises their impact. Competition requirements – voltage, safety, stability and the like – will be outlined in the application form, which is available online at warrandytefestival.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
But wait, there’s more! A new book is being launched in honour of Warrandyte’s time-honoured festival. Warrandyte Festival Celebrating 40 Years: ‘Best One Ever!’ is a salute to both the character and continuity of Warrandyte’s unique annual celebration.
It’s a colourful story. Of concerts and camel rides, parades and whacky races. Of families tuckered out on picnic blankets as Sunday evening bands perform final tunes. And of countless volunteers radiating ideas and pitching in. It illustrates not just the fun of Warrandyte Festival but also the undeniable power of community to enrich lives.
So many good times; such a great Warrandyte tradition!
Festival lovers will be able to spot themselves over the years: on a oat in the parade, at the market, in a Sulo bin race, under lights at the front of the stage or in many other wonderful events.
The book is a limited edition and can be pre-ordered for $40 through the website: warrandytefestival.org
The Diary will bring you more on Warrandyte’s biggest event of the year in following months.
Until then, shuffle that ipod and tap into some Bee Gees dance tunes. Barry’s R & B falsetto is sure to bring on the fever!