Redfest set to be biggest local festival in 50 years

EMMA McCLUNEY

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For the past five and a half decades the Redlands has been coming together to celebrate Redfest.

This annual show is famous for a variety of musical acts, relaxed atmosphere and more strawberries than you can stuff in your face.

Previously known as the Strawberry Festival, the original carnival was a place where locals could showcase their local strawberries and give families a chance to get out and mingle at the same time.

The festival has since evolved into a three-day whirlwind of thrill rides, animals, food, music, art, and of course the world’s biggest and only strawberry-eating contest that has even made its way into the Guinness World Records in the past.

Redfest committee President Patrick Burke said this year’s show is going to be bigger and better than ever.

“This year we’re focused on the music so we have school bands performing and John Morrison, James Morrison’s brother, workshopping with the schools and also performing,” Mr Burke said.

“We also have Mental As Anything playing on the main stage Friday night which is expected to bring in a lot of numbers.

“Saturday night’s the main act is The Animals. It’s the first time they’ve been to this area which should be good.”

Mr Burke said he lives for this annual festival and the happiness it brings to everyone is what motivates him each year.

“I think it’s a great thing to happen and if people don’t volunteer these great events won’t happen,” he said.

“When you see thousands of kids leaving the show with their faces painted and showbags in their hands and smiles on their faces you know they just had the best day…that’s why I do it.”

Local councilor for Wellington Point and Ormiston region Wendy Boglary said Redfest has come a long way since its creation and an integral part of the City’s social and economic calendar.

“It’s a place where we can all come together and see what’s going on in our local community,” she said.

“[Redfest] drives economic development in Redlands because a lot of outsiders come and stay overnight and spend money here which is great for our local businesses and our local economy.

“I’m very excited to be going to the concert on Saturday night. I just love the atmosphere. It’s got such a warm close-knit country fair feel to it.”

Saturday night’s concert will showcase a wide range of local musical talent, including jazz bands, folk singers and alternative psychedelic rock band Howling Seas.

Drummer for Howling Seas Alex Vardanega is just about to finish up his final year at high school and said the band has come a long way since their birth a few years ago.

“We initially formed in 2009 as a five-piece band called Fret-Not…[then earlier] this year we developed a new sound and hence changed our name to Howling Seas,” Alex said.

“We’ve performed at Redfest twice before and [this year] hope to deliver a strong performance that reflects our sound and our musicianship. Overall we want to enjoy the gig and have fun playing our music.”

Redfest will run from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th of September at the Cleveland Showgrounds.

Go to http://redfest.com.au/ to find out more.

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