The inaugural Wanderer Festival kicks off today, with thousands of music lovers descending on the tiny town of Pambula Beach on the New South Wales Far South Coast for the three-day event.
- The inaugural Wanderer Festival begins today on the NSW Far South Coast
- Thousands are expected to attend the event despite the recent wet weather
- It is expected to provide an economic boost after multiple bushfire events and COVID took a toll on the region’s tourism industry
Despite heavy rain in recent days, festival organizer and founder of the Falls Festival Simon Daly says he’s confident there won’t be a repeat of the muddy chaos seen at this year’s Splendor in the Grass festival.
“We saw Splendor in the Grass obviously had real challenges with the weather,” he said.
“On the South Coast, we’ve actually avoided so much of that and we’ve felt really buoyant that we haven’t gotten months of ground soaking.”
Volunteer Nat Schmiedl has traveled from Melbourne and says helping at festivals is a great way to see the country.
“It’s exciting for us to be at a new fresh one, a little smaller and a little more local,” she said.
“We were in so many lockdowns for so long, the whole music scene was dead, so it’s super exciting, we’ve been absolutely needing it.”
Cameron and Anna Smith decided to volunteer at the festival as part of a road trip for their honeymoon.
“It’s a celebration and this is our first stop, which is great,” Cameron said.
“We’ve met a few locals and there seems to be a lot of excitement that the festival’s in town.”
Nadia Tkachenko traveled from Melbourne for the event and said it’s the first festival she’s taken her kids to.
“Hopefully it doesn’t rain. Even if it does, we’ll just have fun in the mud.”
Financial and cultural boost
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said he felt positive about the festival and the economic benefits it would bring to locals.
“Organizers estimate that it will attract investment of more than $30 million to the shire, and hopefully it will be an annual event,” he said.
Mr Daly said the festival would provide a much-needed economic boost to the region after several tough years.
“This region has been through so much with the Tathra fires in 2018, then the east coast fires in 2019-2020 and then the pandemic,” he said.
“Personally, I haven’t seen a festival or even a concert since 2019 and this is my whole life and industry,” he said.
“It’s great to just be experiencing music again. I’m really looking forward to those first notes, those first guitars.”
The festival will feature national and international acts including Wolfmother, the Teskey Brothers, DMAs, The Dandy Warhols, Ziggy Alberts, Confidence Man and Sarah Blasko.
Other stages will host comedy, arts, circus performances and workshops. Events for children and families will also be run around the festival.
How to get there
A free festival bus will operate in Pambula and Pambula Beach, with additional bus services from Merimbula, Tathra and Bega.
Parts of Pambula Beach will be subject to changed traffic conditions for the duration of the festival.