Fes­ti­val’s post-cy­clone re­lief

Ben­e­fit out­weighs ef­fort at Win­ter­moon

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Sharon Smallwood & Dane Lilling­stone

TOM and Kaz Doland were without power for 17 days at their Con­way Beach home in the af­ter­math of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

But not even the dis­com­fort of life af­ter the cat­e­gory four storm could dis­suade the cou­ple and their three chil­dren from camp­ing at Win­ter­moon.

The Dolands have been com­ing to the fes­ti­val since all three chil­dren, now 11, 12 and 14, were in nap­pies, and said they wouldn’t have missed it this year for the world.

“It was a daunt­ing thought just to get a fam­ily of five here af­ter the cy­clone, but we just had to do it,” Kaz said.

“And if we hadn’t there would have been a fam­ily re­volt. The kids love it. They love the free­dom, the river, the mu­sic, the may­pole - you get to catch up with peo­ple you know that you don’t or­di­nar­ily get to spend time with - and the kids get a year’s sup­ply of kofta balls in four days!”

Tom Doland, a ship­wright who is now busy fix­ing boats dam­aged in the cy­clone, said he def­i­nitely felt as though he had worked par­tic­u­larly hard to get to the fes­ti­val this year.

“But the ben­e­fit far out­weighs the ef­fort,” he said.

“I think a lot of peo­ple wouldn’t have had the en­ergy to try and get here this year but our mes­sage is that it was worth it.”

For those who did make it, Tom said he thought it would have done them good.

“Espe­cially if you’ve had your home or busi­ness smashed up, it would do you good not to look at that for a cou­ple of days - it’s a break for your mind as well as a rest,” he said.

Win­ter­moon Fes­ti­val gate co-or­di­na­tor Dave Simp­son said he es­ti­mated the num­ber of peo­ple camp­ing was down about 20% this year, “mainly due to that lit­tle cy­clone”.

“No one re­ally booked af­ter that,” he said.

“Although we had very good day num­bers on Sun­day with peo­ple from Air­lie and Mackay.”

But im­por­tantly Mr Simp­son said he hadn’t meet any­one who didn’t have a good time.

“There was a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back say­ing how great it was and ask­ing ‘when’s the next one?’,” he said.

“All the peo­ple were very good, we had some sen­sa­tional acts, great en­ter­tain­ment (and) the wel­come to coun­try was prob­a­bly the best show I’ve seen them put on in the last 15 years. The weather turned out a cracker and ev­ery­one was happy.”

Pop­u­lar bands this year in­cluded Win­ter­moon roy­alty David Flower and Caro­line Tren­gove and Air­lie Beach band Sun Salute.

For those who missed out on their Win­ter­moon fix there is still time to get one in 2017, with Springfest to be held on the same site later this year.

I think a lot of peo­ple wouldn’t have had the en­ergy to try and get here this year but our mes­sage is that it was worth it. — Tom Doland

HAPPY: Tom, Os­car, Ella, Kaz and Joshua Doland en­joy­ing some creek-side time at Win­ter­moon.

LIVE AND LOUD: Air­lie Beach band Sun Salute were a hit at Win­ter­moon.

Can­non­vale boys Liam Steen and James Miller in the song­writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion fi­nals.

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