View to the future

“BACK to the roots” is the tag being touted by organisers of the 2011 Surfing the Coldstream Festival, with plans to return the event to the great outdoors and give it back its community atmosphere.

The event, which has run four times since its spectacular start in 2005, was renamed the Yamba Comedy Music and Arts Festival last year under the leadership of Live Prawn Productions committee president Debrah Novak.

Major performances were held at indoor venues in 2010 in order to achieve an all-weather event and several other key items were introduced, including arts and writing components.

Ms Novak, who resigned shortly after last year’s event, was replaced by Margot Scott at the committee’s annual general meeting in March and several members from the original Coldstream committee remained on board.

Festival manager Vanessa Brown said the general feeling in the community was that the event needed to be “more outdoorsy”.

But unlike previous outdoor Coldstream events, the 2011 festival won’t be held at the Yamba Oval. Instead, the committee has opted for Flinders Reserve atop Yamba Hill – a natural amphitheatre overlooking the ocean.

Ms Brown said the event, previously held over four days, would be compressed to one day (October 15) in order for the committee to focus its efforts and allow the festival to rebuild to its former size.

“There will be headline bands, as many local bands as we can fit in, market stalls, a food village and buskers,” Ms Brown said.

Moving the event to October, rather than the mid-August date of 2010 was another return to origins for the Coldstream Festival, she said.

Ms Brown said last year’s event broke even financially thanks to sponsors and the Yamba Markets, which helps fund the event.

The committee, she said, had been busy building a database of Yamba visitors via a flyer distributed over the Easter break and sponsorship forms were being sent out to businesses this week.

Asked whether the much-loved lantern parade would return this year, Ms Brown said she could not commit to it until a sponsor was secured.

She said the committee was negotiating with three key headlining acts and, although she would not say who they were, she said the bands were all “rootsy” and “family friendly”.

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