Sweet taste of suc­cess

The Cobram Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By James Ben­nett

Fin­ley Bak­ery and Patis­serie’s Micka Lit­tle­john shows off his spe­cial Straw­berry Fields 10-year an­niver­sary cake to Court­ney Clarke, also known as CC:DISCO!. The for­mer Co­bram girl turned in­ter­na­tional DJ was among those per­form­ing at the fes­ti­val. This year’s fes­ti­val was at a new site on Tup­pal Rd with river frontage and beach swim­ming ac­cess — used by the fes­ti­val-go­ers dur­ing the warm days.

The Straw­berry Fields Mu­sic Fes­ti­val has in­jected tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in to the lo­cal com­mu­nity this year.

Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ser­gio Rede­galli’s con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate was $35 000 was spent just feed­ing the pa­trons of the four­day event at the com­mu­nity bar­be­cue.

Money raised at the bar­be­cue will now be do­nated back to lo­cal pro­jects.

Mr Rede­galli said more was spent at lo­cal busi­nesses by those at­tend­ing the fes­ti­val — a sold-out crowd of 8000 peo­ple.

He was over­whelmed by this year’s fes­ti­val and the grow­ing in­volve­ment in the fes­ti­val by the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘‘It was mas­sive. The com­mu­nity spirit in the scores of vol­un­teers who helped with our com­mu­nity bar­be­cue was just in­cred­i­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve learnt a lot how we can make it big­ger and bet­ter next year.’’

Pa­trons cre­ated the per­fect fes­ti­val at­mos­phere as the four­day fes­ti­val cel­e­brated its 10th an­niver­sary and its sev­enth in Tocumwal.

The big­gest vis­i­tor draw­card for the south­ern Rive­rina re­gion, it at­tracted in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned DJs and bands.

This year’s fes­ti­val was at a new site on Tup­pal Rd with river frontage and beach swim­ming ac­cess — used by the fes­ti­val-go­ers dur­ing the warm days.

The at­mos­phere and arts were con­stant, with the trees pro­vid­ing the per­fect can­vas for the art elec­tron­i­cally pro­jected to­wards the dark­ened leaves at night.

The fes­ti­val-go­ers cre­ated the mix of re­lax­ation and lively at­mos­phere, danc­ing for hours to the mu­sic or check­ing out the mar­ket and food stalls.

In­ter­na­tion­ally renowned, Straw­berry Fields lived up to its rep­u­ta­tion with hun­dreds from across the globe trav­el­ling to Tocumwal just for the event.

A com­mu­nity bar­be­cue called Chillin’ ‘n’ Grillin’, op­er­ated through­out the event thanks to 100 Ber­ri­gan Shire vol­un­teers of all ages.

It was built, or­gan­ised and run by Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce, Fin­ley Cham­ber of Com­merce, Ber­ri­gan War Me­mo­rial Pool Com­mit­tee and other lo­cal vol­un­teers.

All money raised from the event will be do­nated back to the groups.

Straw­berry Fields fes­ti­val di­rec­tors Tara Ben­ney, El­liot Roth­field and Billy Staughton thanked the Tocumwal com­mu­nity, lo­cal landown­ers, and the tra­di­tional own­ers of the land.

‘‘We un­der­stand that cre­at­ing a week­end-long event that quadru­ples the pop­u­la­tion of the lo­cal town can cre­ate quite a stir, but we are com­mit­ted to do­ing ev­ery­thing within our power to make sure that im­pact is a pos­i­tive one,’’ Ms Ben­ney said on be­half of the team.

‘‘We are so grate­ful for the com­mu­nity’s pos­i­tive sup­port and col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts by lo­cals.

‘‘To meet, en­gage with, talk with and share a meal with lo­cals of all ages at the com­mu­nity bar­be­cue open night (on Wed­nes­day) was quite spe­cial.

‘‘The Chillin’ ‘n’ Grillin’ com­mu­nity bar­be­cue was a huge hit, with an ex­pected tens of thou­sands of dol­lars raised.

‘‘Hand­ing out thou­sands of fresh straw­ber­ries on Sun­day while we cut our birth­day cake on the main stage in front of thou­sands of pa­trons was a life­time high­light.’’

Ms Benny said as an ex­tra thanks, or­gan­is­ers specif­i­cally planned for the birth­day cake event to have a lo­cal flavour.

‘‘Not only is CC:DISCO! — the DJ play­ing at the time — orig­i­nally a Co­bram girl (Court­ney Clarke), but we had the cake cus­tom made by the Fin­ley Bak­ery and Patis­serie,’’ she said.

A new ad­di­tion to the fes­tiv­i­ties this year was the Satur­day night River­bank com­mu­nity con­cert on the Tocumwal fore­shore for the wider com­mu­nity.

The free fam­ily-friendly event at­tracted about 500 peo­ple.

Pic­tures: Dunoc­graphic

On stage: Honey Di­jon wowed au­di­ences at the main stage on the Sun­day.

On song: Jayda D turns on the style at the beach stage.

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