Seven years in and Happy Wanderer Festival is so much more than a festival you can simply get down and have a groove at.
Alongside the good times, great music, a sweet program of workshops, morning yoga, volunteering spirit, and splashing around in the river, it’s a festival which places a particular focus on sustainability and does so in more ways than one.
Director Mark Foletta is a sustainable farmer, winemaker, and forager, and is also the owner of the land in which Happy Wanderer Festival takes place each year, and each year has worked to improve the sustainability practices of the festival.
“This year we’re introducing a mobile dishwashing station,” he explains. “All of the food vans will have crockery and cutlery that we supply, and rather than using compostable utensils and plates like in previous years, we’re actually going to re-use them by way of the wash station.”
Alongside this venture, the festival (which takes its name from the weed found regularly on the property) will continue gifting an enamel mug to ticketholders which becomes yours for the entirety of the festival – whether you’re drinking at the bar, or kicking the morning off with a coffee, punters simply wash and re-use their mug. “That’s surprisingly made a huge difference to any waste that’s left behind,” Foletta says. “We come out the next morning and there are no cans lying around at all. Last year the only bit of rubbish found was ten dollars,” he laughs.
Another important aspect of the festival and its sustainability practices, is that partway through the festival, the team do a ‘farm wander’ where punters are taken around the farm and are talked through the sustainability aspect of the farm, tying in with the festivals environmental and community ethos.
Foletta also explains that this year, lucky number seven, was all about consolidation. “We’ve finally found the number that works really well for us in terms of punters,” he says. “Because of the nature of the site, there are only so many people we can get on to camp, with a couple of different access points and because we borrow a neighbour’s paddock to camp. We’ve found a size that’s manageable for us, and that is really wholesome and just fills the space out really lovely.
“When you have the right amount of people, everything’s well-populated, there’s a good turn out to all of the workshops and the acts, and you’re not getting an overwhelming, large festival vibe which makes it really approachable for families and for the people who want a really good weekend.”
Maxing out the festival at a humble 800 tickets, the family-friendly event boasts a relaxed, happy-go-lucky vibe. Featuring a line-up of outstanding up-and-comers, as well as established artists of all different genres, a variety of musical tastes are sure to be catered to. Indie-pop poet Ro will headline this year’s truck-mounted stage, joined by Melbourne local Ruby Gill, and Sunnyside, who will be fresh from shows throughout Japan. Other acts taking to the stage across the weekend include Half The Andes, Matilda O’Brien, Hoi Palloi, Jo Jo Smith, Daggy Man, Gracejean, Griff, Tim Moore, David M Western, The Mamas, Trickbox, DJ Stu, Bindle, Gerg & Wex, Plastic, Lucie Thorne, Tess Guthrie, DJ Friday, Good Stuff DJs, and more to be announced.
While the team is still compiling this year’s vendors and workshops, you can bet they’ll continue to reflect the way the festival runs more broadly – being low-key, family-friendly, creative and affordable.
Happy Wanderer thrives on the idea that it’s accessible for good people, creating a safe, nourishing environment, where people can totally get down and boogie, take the little ones to explore the farm, or even just find a hammock and take it easy too.
WANT TO GO TO HAPPY WANDERER ON US?
We’ve giving away a double pass to the festival. To enter email your name, number, and code word ‘HAPPY’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, the full festival line-up and to purchase tickets, visit www.happywandererfestival.com/