5 October, 2022
MAREEBA has well and truly been put on the music festival map after the massive success of Savannah in the Round 2022, bringing in thousands of visitors to the area and injecting millions of dollars into the local economy.
The three-day festival had an impressive line-up of emerging and established musical talents from country to rock and indie, there was something for every-one at this year’s “music festival in the country”
Country music fans got to see some of the best Australian musicians up close and person-al over the three days and one lucky fan had a one-of-a-kind encounter with international star Brad Paisley.
A young toddler named Paisley got the gift of a lifetime after the artist came off stage and gave a signed guitar and cow-boy hat he wore on stage to her overjoyed mother.
Local Jack Fletcher, brother of Savannah performer Jeremy Fletcher, also got gifted a hat by Paisley during his performance.
The festival got off to a great start, with the cocktail bars at Tastes of Savannah selling over 10,000 drinks on Friday night as people rushed to try the delicious mixes made from local ingredients.
Festival director James Dein was over the moon with how this year’s festival had turned out with a bumper crowd at-tending what became the big-gest and best Savannah yet.
“The festival has been fantastic, a lot of the key learnings from last year we picked up on and implemented and I think operationally it is a testament to the team,” he said.
“We have an amazing team of people, everything from the campground through to the rubbish services and ground service guys, they have been amazing – it has been a really well-oiled machine this year in its delivery.
“There were no pressure points, no stress points, no issues with crowd behaviour and no real medical incident, you get through a festival and at that point and it has been a good outcome for the patrons and for the traders here.”
While the organisers of Savannah do not have the official numbers for this year’s festival just yet, it was confirmed earlier there was a 50 per cent uptake in ticket sales compared to last year.
“This festival has got many, many years in it and lots of room to expand and build, our crowd was up significantly from last year but we don’t have ex-act figures just yet,” Mr Dein said.
Mr Dein confirmed they had seen an influx of people buying tickets on Sunday, which he called a good “kick in the tail” to patron numbers and revenue.
Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin got the chance to tour the festival site on Sunday afternoon and was amazed at the sheer scale and quality of the festival.
“It is just amazing, it has been great to go around and visit the camping sites and see just how huge it is – if you are sitting in the arena, you don’t see that,” she said.
“This festival is just tremendous for Mareeba in terms of its economy, tourist numbers and of course the entertainment, the selection of performers has just been outstanding.
“I am really pleased to see some of the stalls supporting the festival particularly in Tastes of Savannah which I believe is a great idea.”
Mr Dein and his hardworking team are already busy at work organising next year’s festival and has confirmed they are in talks with more artists from America to perform at Savannah in the Round 2023.
Savannah in the Round 2023 will bring people “more of the same” for next year’s festival, saying he does not want to tam-per with the successful Savannah formula.
“This is a great formula and I wouldn’t want to mess with it, moving the Big Top Music
Hall to be closer to the arena and closer to the adjacent park-lands and bars was a stroke of genius,” Mr Dein said.
“It ties in the whole festival site into that venue as opposed to it being out on its own.
“We really like the site lay-out now and we will just continue to build on that.”
Pick up a copy of The Express Newspaper in the coming weeks for a full story on Savannah in the Round 2022’s economic breakdown and see how much Mareeba benefited from this year’s festival.