Festival’s post-cyclone relief
Benefit outweighs effort at Wintermoon
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.