Leading the charge is Festival Director Phaedra Watts, who answers our questions about Nannup Music Festival and be heartily congratulated for her recent successes.
This year, Nannup Music Festival marked its 30th anniversary – what were the celebrations like? It was such a wonderful festival. It was our first pre-festival sell-out – that was a pretty exciting way to start celebrations. We had a few favourites from over the years join us to celebrate – and had a big, yummy cake to share with all.
Some of your personal highlights as Festival Director from this year's event? I think the big bubble of love was the most rewarding thing. The bubble is so wonderful. Thousands of people gathering together and sharing in a weekend of music and more, with big, joyous smiles. It's precious.
I feel really happy seeing our Indigenous audience grow; this is really meaningful. As the programming strengthens and is consistent with Indigenous showcasing, the audience is also responsive.
Congratulations on Nannup Music Festival winning the 2018 National Live Music Award for Best Live Event In WA; what does the win mean for the event's profile and its growth? Thank you. How awesome was that!? It is reassuring to know that the love and support out there is real. It let us know that the festival is as loved as it feels. Such a huge collection of beings that make the festival what it is, so the award is for everyone.
Are you able to tell us some of the artists on the line-up for 2020 or are you keeping that under wraps? It's almost complete. Some special additions like Archie Roach will join us, along with some new acts that haven’t yet hit WA soil.
I was lucky to have been invited to Scotland last year and from that I have programmed a few acts, so there will be some contemporary Scottish music. A few other great international acts and some wonderful local favourites too. Selection is so hard, as there is such a huge amount of wonderful and diverse acts out there. Programming is trying to make sure there are some treasures for everyone.
The festival has a heavy focus on its environmental sustainability; tell us more about the Green Steps initiative and how attendees can participate? As we all know, the environment is our home. We have spent years working on how we can do things better and evolve with this as we learn.
We stopped plastic water [bottles] and replaced these with reusables six or seven years ago. We have had a wash-down station for the breakfast area for the past five years and that has now grown to all food areas. We encourage people to BYO utensils, cups etc. or to use ours that we provide.
We encourage ride share, are working with the local mountain bike club to offer bikes to be available to use between sites; we offer workshops to encourage and educate us all in how we can do things differently.
Are there any additions or improvements to the festival planned for 2020? We had a few sound issues from our new home venue last year, so we are working on this as it was a bit of a learning curve this year, but mostly we are just wanting to improve what we do. We don’t want to get any bigger, yet can always get better.
As the festival has evolved, how has your role as Festival Director changed? It's been an honour to steer the festival to where we are – and to help let the rest of Australia and even overseas know what and where we are.
There are great things and terrible things about my role, it's super fun and exciting but also so responsible. It seems that all the negatives will fall back to me, which can get overwhelming, but the love and support really outweighs all of this – significantly.
It's so wonderful to have such a great team to work with – it couldn’t be what it is without those that are involved. We have a great committee, incredible volunteers that step in at festival time, and a really wonderful and creative Admin and Digital Media Officer (she creates the awesome website – check it out).
What positive impacts has the festival had on the town of Nannup over the past 30 years? I believe that the festival has really helped put Nannup on the ‘map’. It brings people to a really special part of the South West and has encouraged many to return. Nannup is a rather sleepy, restful place and the festival weekend swells the population by over 10,000. Understandably some choose to hide – yet mostly they join in in one way or another.
Generally speaking, what does the festival contribute to the local Nannup economy? The festival is significant in supporting the economy of Nannup. It is estimated to generate over a million dollars to the local economy.
After 30 years, what would you like to say to the townspeople of Nannup and the festival's attendees that have helped make it a success? Thank you – thank you for the creation, support and growth of such a wonderful and iconic event in our beautiful town. It wouldn’t be what it is without you.
What is your vision for the future of Nannup Music Festival? A 40th anniversary in 2029, perhaps? Ooohh 40th – that will be fun. I had a vision of our home and a home venue, this has now happened.
For now I'd love to see that this is nurtured along with the festival. There are many wonderful things it will provide and create, for now. . . there are new visions for later. . . but for now it’s the nurturing of what we have already.
2020 Nannup Music Festival (WA) runs 28 February to 2 March.