Swanpool festival raises funds for good causes

By Simon Ruppert

The Happy Wanderer Festival Committee has announced two donations in the wake of their successful event on the weekend.

Bids from the Rubber Duck Auction event raised $2350.

From that, $1350 was donated to the Tomorrow Today Foundation.

A further $1000 was donated to help the Djap Wurrung people save the sacred 800-year-old endangered redgums in the Ararat region.

The sold-out festival took place from November 1 to 4, with more than 700 people attending.

Director Mark Foletta said organisers were pleased to be able to donate to two important causes.

“The campaigns we’ve chosen to fund are a beautiful reflection of our values, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability and to strengthening the local community,” Mr Foletta said.

Sustainability was also a key consideration of the festival.

“A huge factor in our ability to reduce patron waste was the kind donation of a wash station from Strathbogie Inc, which enabled patrons to actively contribute,” Mr Foletta said.

“We are grateful to locals Ellen James, Louissa Marston and Shannon Tharratt who formed the Bin ‘n’ Butt Babes.

“They drove a passionate and resourceful campaign to ensure Happy Wanderer furthered its message of sustainability through responsible waste management.”

Mr Foletta also said that the festival was a big success thanks largely to two new directors who have come on board this year.

"We’ve gone to three local directors. As well as myself we have two locals, one who has moved to the area specifically due to the festival and another local farmer who has lived in the area some time," Mr Foletta said.

"Emi Day has brought a wealth of festival knowledge to the event and she's been a long time contributor.

"And she’s actually moved into the community now.

"She has been a backbone of the festival throughout the years, and her stepping into that role has been really pivotal in the success of this year's event.

"The other director, another farmer, is John-Paul Murphy.

"He’s taken control of the operations side of things, and to have his dedication and enthusiasm has meant that the festival has been run really well.

"We did have a few challenges with weather and logistics. But everyone has said it all seemed to run very smoothly."

The next Happy Wanderer Festival is scheduled to take place in 2021.