By Matthew Pearce
Being forced to take a year off due to Covid-19 only raised enthusiasm for Under the Trees, with the Boyne Island music and arts festival attracting record attendance on Saturday, 18 September.
Located at Jacaranda Drive, Boyne Island, Under the Trees is organised by the community, for the community, and entirely run and built by volunteers.
The festival was created to bring people together, create economic development opportunities, present small business opportunities and showcase the beauty of Boyne Tannum.
Media and marketing manager Wezzy Crüze said 2202 people attended the sell-out event, which was 20 per cent growth on 2019’s festival.
“This is really really good, especially considering that little pandemic that’s happening at the moment,” Wezzy said.
“In terms of live music it was really good to have such a big turnout, which shows how much support there is from the community for the event.
“Under the Trees has grown every year and this is the probably year with the largest amount of growth.
“As much as I’d like to take credit for that, I put it down to Covid because after last year everyvbody just wants to get back out there.”
He said the event had gone off without a hitch.
“We had a few last minute line-up changes but we were able to find some replacement bands that were able to jump in and do their thing and bring their party back home,” he said.
“The public is so happy that the event happend and it all came together really well.
“Usually I’m looking for negative things so I can say ‘we’ll work on that’ but I’m struggling to find much to improve.”
Artists at this year’s event included Bullhorn, The Hipshooters, The Long Johns, The Lyrical, Olivia Ruth, Shen Panthers, Abby Skye Music, Brittany Elise, 7 Whales in Moscow, Kaycee Morgan, Wal Neilsen, Perigee, The Stone Apes, Lewis Cooper, The Short Fall, The Bucket List, Raw Ordio, Dubarray, Sliwka Music, Ricardo Bona and The Lovely Hearts Club Band.
Meraki Circus, Dance & Entertainment and the Gladstone Performing Arts Company also entertained the crowd.
This year also marked the first Under the Trees Eve Twilight Art Gala, an evening of art appreciation, showcasing local talented creatives, accompanied by live music, fine food and entertainment, as well as a wine tasting.
“We had about 300 in attendance on the Friday night and sold every ticket,” Wezzy said.
“It was a real intimate affair with some great music we’ve never presented before, including an accordion extraordinaire and some deep house rhythms.
“It was like being in the same place but just experiencing it from a really different angle.”
While this is the first time Under the Trees Eve has been held, Wezzy said it definitely wouldn’t be the last.
“We have plans to expand on it a little bit next year but we want to keep that intimate vibe going,” he said.
“We had (Gladstone mayor) Matt Burnett come up to us and say, ‘Hey, this has to happen again, this is just a magical feeling’ – and if he says it I’ve got to do it.”
See more photos on Pages 30 and 31.