By Colin MacGillivray
PUNTERS braved cold and wet conditions during the Easter long weekend to mark the end of an era at the final Boogie music festival in Tallarook.
Boogie has called the town home since its inception in 2007, but unfavourable planning permit conditions put its future in doubt in recent years.
While festival organisers were successful in amending a permit condition regarding noise restrictions, an attempt to relocate late-night entertainment to the festival’s outdoor amphitheatre and licensed area was knocked back at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, VCAT, only weeks before this year’s event.
Tanya El-Gamal, the owner of Our Friends Farm where the festival is held, said it was a blow to the festival’s hopes of continuing in Tallarook.
“This element of the program has always been a big thing for Boogie punters and with [Mitchell Shire Council’s] lack of support and understanding of cultural events, constantly changing the goal posts weeks out from the event it was decided that Boogie could no longer run at the site,” she said.
In lieu of outdoor entertainment past 1am, organisers built a new venue on the site to accommodate festivalgoers until 3am.
While late-night entertainment was restricted, crowds relished the live music on stage.
Veteran Japanese rockers Guitar Wolf produced a high-energy performance that included stage dives and crowd surfing, while punk rock outfit Private Function made the crowd forget about the rain that fell steadily during their set.
Jazz-funk band Surprise Chef headlined on Saturday night, and the return of Boxwars – an annual event affording punters a chance to dress up and battle in elaborate cardboard costumes – was a hit.
With the final Boogie in the books, festival director Jeremy Gordon said he had no plans to relocate it to a new venue, but that he would continue to work with Ms El-Gamal to investigate the possibility of hosting other events in Tallarook.
“Aside from Boogie we are planning to work for years to come with Tanya and Our Friends Farm – it is an amazing community and entertainment facility that has the potential to be the best event site in the region,” he said.
“We love the venue and are excited to be working on new concepts with Tanya to keep bringing live music to the area.”
Ms El-Gamal said she was equally keen to host future music events at Our Friends Farm.
“I am teaming up with Jeremy from Boogie Festival and a few other event companies to work on a yearly program of events with diverse line-ups and different styles of music and entertainment,” she said.
“We have a big vision that incorporates youth events, live-music concerts, community well-being programs, leisure and recreation activities and up-scaling our accommodation offering to bring more people to the area outside of the events.
“While it may be the end of Boogie, it’s the beginning of a whole new era for the farm of fun times. Watch this space.”