THE 2017 Cully Fest is bigger and more jam-packed than ever at its new home of Toowoomba Showgrounds on November 17-19.
While initially gutted not to be able to continue the Aboriginal and Outback Cultural Festival at its Cunnnamulla home, organiser Peieta Mills said the move had opened new doors especially to Seniors and children.
"We've been working on this for about a year behind the scenes, organising and promoting it, and it's definitely gained lots of interest," she said.
"Sales are already better. It's more accessible. The facilities are sensational and the management team really encourage development of events.
"It's probably a bit too big a venue for us this year, but it will let us grow over the next 10 years."
The festival has earned a reputation for bringing together Aboriginal culture, music, arts and artists with non-indigenous artists. Speakers share their stories, experiences and struggles and there are more than 50 different workshops spanning hundreds of sessions from didgeridoo-making and playing, to Aboriginal language, drawing, guitar, ukulele, tin whistle, singing, songwriting, cooking, bush survival and more.
"Last year we had an older couple from Toowoomba who planned to come for one day because the husband had purchased a didgeridoo and wanted to learn how to play it.
"They came for that day and basically stayed for the whole event.
"People think they know what it's going to be, but when they get here, they find it's so much more."
This year, Peieta said, there are already a number of retirees booked in for the three-day camping ticket along with three generations of a number of families.
For the first time, 616 students and teachers will take part in workshops on the Friday as part of a school excursion program.
Other initiatives include a cabaret-style show, aimed squarely at Seniors, starring the soulful lyrics of Pepper Jane singing Released, followed by Willie Nelson's Love Child taking audiences on a journey through his life, loves and songs, and the magic of 40s and 50s blues and swing with Dezzie D and the Stingrayz.
While dinner and show tickets are no longer available, you can still enjoy the music, and plan to get in early for next year's full event.
A great new initiative for this year's show is the half-day music-only ticket, which gives you entry from 3pm-midnight for just $69.90 (adults). Full day tickets, including as many workshops as you want to take part in are $159 for adults, or there is the three-day option.
Bands include the rock sounds of Killing Heidi, to folk, country, funk/ska, blues, gospel and soul. And for the teens, there's In Stereo.
And for those who like a little more action, the festival is also partnering to present Round 2 of the National Rodeo Finals.
"We have a lot of return performers who got rave reviews last year and some fantastic new people this year. The idea is it's very interactive. We want people to be involved," Peieta said.
"I am happy to be held to my statement there is something no matter if you are 1 or 91!"
For all the details, go to www.cullyfest.com.
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