After catastrophic bushfires, an ongoing pandemic and ongoing global unrest, Kangaroo Island farmer Andy Gilfillan, chairman of the non-profit East End Events committee, thinks people may have forgotten what a good one looks like. moment.
“We had so much fear around the world, and especially across the island with the fires, the virus and the international issues,” says Gilfillan. “Everyone is ready to have a good time because they have forgotten what it is to laugh, to be happy, to eat well, to dance and to be merry.”
The New Shoots Music Festival is exactly that. The inaugural festival is expected to draw thousands to the island on April 2 to hear lineup led by Melbourne band Something For Kate, veteran rockers Jebediah and local favorites Bad Dreems at Penneshaw Oval.
They will join Ash Grunwald, Maddy Jane and more at the concert, which will raise money through the sale of tickets and merchandise for Blazeaid, a voluntary organization that provides financial aid and manpower. to help people rebuild after natural disasters and the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation.
Covid restrictions have postponed the festival twice now. Gilfillan says the new iteration will be the island’s biggest festival in over a decade. “We had everything lined up and then Covid came down and we couldn’t deliver so we had to rethink,” he says. “We pushed it back a number of times, and I think in the end it worked out well. The music industry also went through a very difficult time, and so we were able to get funds from the federal government to pay for bands and other costs.
Festival-goers can sip Kangaroo Island Spirits, wine from KI producers Dudley Wines and False Cape, and beer from Pirate Life. There will also be locally roasted coffee and food stalls selling Thai street food, burgers and more.
Gilfillan says KI has largely rebuilt itself after bushfires tore through half the island, destroying wildlife, terrain and infrastructure. “I think the island and its economy have rebounded incredibly well and New Shoots really offers an opportunity for the islanders to reset a little bit, end a pretty tough time and come together,” he says.
“It’s also a great opportunity for people from the mainland to come and see what’s going on here. The ferry ride is heavily discounted and it’s a chance for people to use the campgrounds or find a home and hang out here. The island is really beautiful at this time of year.
For those who have visited before, the changes will be apparent. “The landscape is now different, physically and emotionally. To say that KI has struggled over the past two years is a massive understatement,” says Gilfillan. “It would be a bold statement to say the worst is behind us, but it’s definitely time to loosen the shackles.”
New Shoots runs from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 2. This is a fully vaccinated event. Tickets and other details, including information on how to get there, are available online.
See also: A weekend guide to Kangaroo Island