General News

23 October, 2022

Music festival moves from long weekend

WITH another record-breaking festival done and dusted, the dates for Savannah in the Round 2023 have been announced and it will no longer be on a long weekend, but festival organisers are confident it will be a positive change.

By Rhys Thomas

Savannah in the Round 2022
Savannah in the Round 2022

This year’s festival was a massive success and brought in thousands of visitors to the Mareeba Rodeo Ground and the surrounding region over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

The festival continues to grow with 15,000 people recorded coming in and out of the festival over its duration.

Sound Australia CEO and festival director James Dein was pleased to see around three times more locals attending the festival compared to last year.

“It was really pleasing for me to see the marked increase of support from the locals and it is very much appreciated – we had about three times more locals there this year,” he said.

“We would like to continue to build on that and we hope the locals had a great time.”

Next year’s dates for Savannah in the Round were announced shortly after the end of this year’s festival which will now be moved from the October long weekend, a date which was regarded as one of festival’s keys to success.

Mr Dein said the festival has been moved for several key reasons and believes the date change will benefit both the festival and the Tablelands.

Being on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend meant the festival was able to share headline artists with other festivals with a quick turnaround, but it proved quite taxing on both the festival crew and the artists.

“We strategically placed Savannah on that weekend to align with the Deni Ute Muster so we could share headliners and while we were able to pull it off – it was high risk in many ways and very tiring on the crew and artists,” he said.

“While the proof of concept was there, it is not an exercise I am prepared to repeat.

“We can still be aligned in any artist runs involv-ing United States artists and work with the ute mus-ter, but not on the same weekend.”

Mr Dein also believes that with Savannah be-ing hosted during peak holidaying season, many visitors did not get to experience the region to its fullest, as they competed with other holidayers ven-tured up to the far north.

The cost of airfares and accommodation during school holidays and over the long weekend was also another deciding factor in moving the festival as was the desire to extend the time visitors spent in the region.

“We feel that it is better for the region as a whole to have people stay outside of the peak holidaying period and into the shoulder, from a dispersal point of view,” Mr Dein said.

“In other words, having people being able to move around, visit and take in the region as a whole outside of that period.

“The net result of it all is that Savannah adds more value to the region by doing what we have done.”

With festival goers no longer having the Monday public holiday, Savannah is considering moving the headline acts to Saturday night.

Mr Dein is in talks with several international artists and acclaimed Australian artists to populate next year’s line-up and is preparing to announce them before the end of the year.

Meanwhile police reported the crowd at Savannah was incredibly well-behaved and there were no recorded incidents.


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