9 October, 2023

Record breaking crowds at Mareeba’s top festival

RECORD-breaking crowds flooded through the gates of Mareeba’s Rodeo Grounds over the weekend for the third annual Savannah in the Round music festival.

By Ellie Fink

Record breaking crowds at Mareeba’s top festival - feature photo

Kicking off last Friday, patrons from across the country made their way to Mareeba to watch some of the biggest names in Australian music, including headliner Jimmy Barnes. 

Friday saw a more “country-style” lineup, with thousands of people squeezing into the mosh pit to see their favourite artists. 

The crowd was blown away by the talents of Kasey Chambers, who covered Eminem’s Lose Yourself on the banjo, and Casey Barnes and his crew, who broke out into rap at the end of the set.

International artist Alexandra Kay travelled all the way from her small town in the United States to join the line-up and said she was impressed with the calibre of Australian artists on stage.

“It has been absolutely incredible, and I was so excited to listen to all the Australian artists,” she said.

“I wasn’t very familiar with Australian country music because it is very different from the States.”

Coming from a small town similar in size to Mareeba, Alexandra believes festivals like these keep a community thriving.

James Johnston had the crowd going wild, being his third time on the Savannah stage, this time as a Billboard Number 1 artist. 

“The crowd is just on fire, and it is just great to get out there,” he said.

“Savannah was my first festival, and I think I played at 2pm and now I’m up later, and it’s just amazing to see.”

Despite a drizzle of rain, Saturday night saw thousands of people crowding in the Mareeba Rodeo arena to watch the Black Sorrows, Daryl Braithwaite and Jimmy Barnes. 

As it showered, The Horses by Daryl Braithwaite sang out, ending his set before Jimmy Barnes came on and rocked the night away. 

Festival creator and organiser James Dein said ticket sales were up by at least 20%, being one of the best Savannah festivals yet. 

“We had about two and a half thousand people here on Thursday night, four thousand last night (Friday night) and I reckon we have about seven thousand here tonight (Saturday night),” he said. 

“It’s been fantastic.” Planning has already begun for the 2024 festival. 


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