Nannup Music Festival Is A Nursery For Local Music & Community

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  • Friday, 26 October 2018 15:42
Published in Music  
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The 30th annual Nannup Music Festival is on in March 2019. The 30th annual Nannup Music Festival is on in March 2019. Image © Paul Hemsworth

Over three decades, the Nannup Music Festival has grown from a grassroots regional shindig into one of the major music events on the WA calendar.


In 2019, the town of Nannup – situated in the South West region of WA along the Blackwood River – comes alive for the 30th year of its namesake festival that celebrates community, environment and respect.

The festival presents four days of original music by both emerging and established acts, local art and markets all set against the picturesque surrounds of Nannup.

This year, Nannup Music Festival is nominated for a WAMAward in the Most Popular Music Event category. We speak with Festival Director Phaedra Watts (winner of the 2017 Golden WAMi) about the festival.

As Festival Director, what are your key responsibilities?
Primarily, I’m working on artists, programming and the artistic vision. This includes things like the long-time dream of buying our own home, which has just happened. We have purchased a property that houses our offices, workshop spaces and a beautiful garden venue.

This is allowing more dreams and visions to manifest; along with igniting and supporting visions and values that are nurtured by all who are involved in the organisation. There are of course many more things that come with being the Festival Director, such as budgets, governance and communications.

What makes Nannup Music Festival such a special event?
I think that Nannup is special as it's so nurturing. It's nurturing to the performers as it is for the audience. It’s a graceful and friendly weekend to share with all, from young to old – from all corners of the world. I believe also that as it's created with love - oodles of love - that this flows throughout the festival and the community. It takes a community to grow a festival!

What is the guiding philosophy of the festival?
Community. Environment. Respect.

Tell us more about the town of Nannup.
Nannup is a small town, on the banks of the Blackwood River in the centre of the Jarrah and Marri forests of the south west. It is a quiet community of many different people and was founded on beef, dairy and timber. It really comes alive at festival time and we are proud to share our oasis for the weekend.


Does the whole town get involved with the festivities?
Mostly. There are some that hide away and are glad that it passes, but generally yes. Without the community support, it simply couldn’t happen. Many locals share the pride of creating the festival and we are incredibly grateful.

How are you celebrating the festival's 30th year?
We are brewing some ideas at the moment, but we have some favourites from over the years coming back to celebrate; we will be celebrating with our new ‘Home’ venue and possibly eating cake!

What have been some of the major successes for the festival since it began?
That’s a hard one to narrow down. I think that getting to 30 and buying our first home really sums up that we have been, and still are, a success. We have grown gently and held onto our ‘essence’; we have been nominated for awards and won some too; we have had many wonderful artists wanting to come back, and an audience that are coming from near and far to share in the magic. I believe this is all success.

What are some of the highlights of the 2019 festival?
The celebration of 30 years, the celebration of our ‘home’ and the huge mix of artists: old favourites like Eric Bogle, Bernard Carney and Loren Kate; new favourites like Southern River Band, Bec Sandridge and William Crighton; fresh ones like Little Quirks, Asha Jefferies and Greta Stanley. There will also be acts from remote NT and WA, street performance, workshops, art activities, dance, bands, meditations, yoga, the Emerging Artists Award and poetry. So much!

How can people get involved with the festival?
Performer applications have closed for 2019, but we welcome volunteers; we really value the support that this brings, the manpower and the sharing with random strangers who celebrate the creation together. Or, of course, buying tickets and just immersing. First round of tickets go on sale 1 November.

How is the environmental impact of the festival managed?
The environment is always on our mind. We have been actively thinking of what we can be doing to respect it over the festival (and beyond). We have provided reusable water bottles for artists for six years now, that’s six years of not buying plastics. We have a wash-down station at food areas, so that we are not serving on disposables.

We ask the food stalls to agree to our no waste policy: no plastics, bio degradable only. We use grey water-safe cleaning products and Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, we have compost bins for the food stalls, and we recycle and manage our festival waste.

We encourage BYO cups and plates, we have water refill stations and we hold workshops on environmental issues. We are learning and educating where we can.

Nannup Music Festival has been nominated for the WAM Award for Most Popular Music Event – what would winning this award mean for the festival?
How mint would that be! Wow, it would be so great. I guess it would mean that we are recognised and believed in.

What support does Nannup Music Festival give to new and emerging artists?
We LOVE new and emerging artists. I really believe that all artists are worthy of exposure - if they are daring to get out there and do what they do then I believe we, as promoters etc, should support this where we can. Nannup is great that we have diversity in venues and set lengths, so I can work with what people feel safe doing.

The 30th Nannup Music Festival takes place 1-4 March, 2019.

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