Small in number but big on enthusiasm, the crowd at Saturday’s Flame Tree Festival made sure it enjoyed the music.
Small in number but big on enthusiasm, the crowd at Saturday’s Flame Tree Festival made sure it enjoyed the music.

Lessons learned from first show

VOWING to hold another Flame Tree Music Festival next year despite a disappointing turnout to Saturday’s inaugural event, organiser Dawn Collison called on the community to ‘pull its finger out’ and support local events.

Dawn said about 250 people turned out for the nine-act festival, which reached its peak attendance after dark.

“The people that were there had an absolute blast – the bands were well-received, the volunteers did such a great job and the police were happy with it,” Dawn said.

“It had such a good feel, families were picnicking on the grass, people were just lying back and listening and others danced.”

Blaming the low afternoon turnout in part on local sport, Dawn also conceded the ticket price of $25 per adult and $15 for teenagers 14-18 may have kept some people from the festival.

“We’ll probably drop the price for next year,” she said.

“There were two very big funerals last week, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

“There’s no doubt that these would have had an impact, not only on people’s finances but also on their mood.”

The event, which will cost Dawn an undisclosed amount of money, was meant to raise funds for Kimberley Ray, 20, who suffers from thoracolumbar scoliosis.

“We’ve received tremendous support from businesses, including Grafton Hire who gave us a 50 per cent discount on everything because they really believed in the event and, of course, the CRJC donated the racecourse to us,” she said. “We’ve already booked the racecourse for next year on April 23.”

But Dawn heralded a change of strategy.

“We got all local bands this year but obviously that didn’t pay off as much as we would have liked,” she said.

Instead, she said, organisers will seek out a high-profile national act with some local support.

Auctioned at the festival were the framed lyrics of Grafton’s most famous song, Flame Trees, hand written by Cold Chisel’s prolific writer Don Walker. The classy piece of memorabilia was sold for $700 to self-confessed Chisel fanatic Danny Garnett from the band 4 Way Street.



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