Nowhere and everywhere: Wanderer Festival’s second year is a big one 

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Nowhere and everywhere: Wanderer Festival’s second year is a big one 

Simon Daly, Wanderer Festival

Simon Daly's sustainable music and arts experience returns with Ocean Alley, Django Django, Thelma Plum and more.

Last year, Wanderer Festival was a welcome beacon for those tired of the overbearing joy the pandemic gave us all (jks, obvs). It was a festival for all, conveniently located halfway between Sydney and Melbourne while also being a three-hour road trip from Canberra. Set in the scenic coastal town of Pambula Beach, the three-day festival was a huge success, so much so that it was able to grow and return.

Yet another festival-brainchild from Simon Daly, who has given us Falls and The Lost Lands, Wanderer offered a diverse program, wrapped up in an event that aimed to be as green as possible. This year, these same ideas are taken even further, and we caught up with Daly to learn more about what to expect.

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“I think last year, for a first festival, it landed as good as one possibly could; it was just really well-embraced on the ground by the community, patrons and artists. It’s rare, I’ve had a long background with festivals, and every now and then, you do an event and just know that the following year will be really great, and Wanderer was one of these. Probably the last time I had that feeling was the first year of Falls in Tassie; you knew everyone that was coming had a friend coming the next year.”

Daly explains that a conscious effort was made to ensure the programming, and more importantly, feel, of last year’s event would be continued into this year. “Whether it be musically or in the arts, genre-wise, this year is similarly mirrored and designed in a way that is really inclusive for both artists and audiences. It’s broad but has a feel; there is nothing worse than something that is really broad but is a master of nothing.” Daly explains that the goal was for everyone, regardless of age or stage of life, to feel as if Wanderer was their festival. “The feedback post-last year says we achieved that, and the ticket sales for this year suggest a broad crowd once again.”


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Despite the festival’s first-year success, funding was still required to ensure it would be back for round two. “I think it’s impossible to run a start up festival in a regional area in this era without some support from Government, especially in this area which had never had a major festival before. When I say major, we want to keep our numbers to ten thousand, which is small compared to bigger offerings.” Wanderer is certainly a remote festival, but its location has certain advantages. Roughly seven hours from Melbourne, six hours from Sydney and three hours from Canberra, it is both nowhere and everywhere at once. “Last year, 55 per cent of our attendees came from out of the region, so people had travelled to be there, which is great when no one had heard the word Wanderer until sixteen weeks before the event.”

This year, Wanderer presents its generational festival experience with a big program, all on a friendly-priced ticket when compared with similar events. Headliners Ocean Alley are joined by the likes of Django Django, Thelma Plum, Son Little, Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball from Gomez, The Jungle Giants, Spiderbait, Kevin Morby, Lisa Mitchell and the world-famous Flying Fruit Fly Circus, with more to be announced to fill the over 70 artist line-up. “Building on the feel of last year but a little bit more international, whether that be with Gomez, Kevin Morby or Son Little, if anybody saw Curtis Harding last year, Son Little fits that feel for us. We’ve got 12 more acts to announce in August, which will feature one more international artist.”

Ocean Alley’s Wanderer appearance comes as part of their run of Aussie headline shows with Winston Surfshirt in support of their 2022 album Low Altitude Living. The tour starts in Auckland before the Wanderer appearance, which will be followed by shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Gomez fans will also be very excited about the inclusion of Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball, just as Simon is, “If you look at their setlists from the show last year, it’s all Gomez which is great. Ben was going to be on the Wanderer stage, which is for discovery and new music, but since Ian Ball is in, we said nope, that has to be on the main stage with a big sound.”


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AFL fans may be side-eyeing Wanderer’s dates, noticing they clash with a certain Grand Final, but fear not, the game will be splashed on a dedicated LED screen and PA (along with the NRL final the next day) in its own cosy space with meat pies and chips on offer.

If you like your festivals green, Wanderer has you covered there as well, building on last year’s efforts with a range of sustainable initiatives. “Last year, we didn’t have a single general waste bin on the grounds, everything is specialised, and this year we will be reusing plates and crockery to cut down waste even further,” Simon added. 

Wanderer will introduce reusables to replace takeaway packaging for food service, working with the Green team, B- Alternative to implement their Alternative Reusable System. This awesome model features reusable crockery and cups that will be used by all food vendors, hygienic wash and sanitising stations and patron education. B-Alternative’s tried and tested reusable system significantly reduces carbon emissions, encouraging positive behavioural change from everyone involved in events we love, like Wanderer.

Wanderer will also feature no single-use plastics, FOGO bin bags supplied to all campers, water refill stations, bike racks and wash stations for the camping areas. “We always want to improve on these things; we think festivals are an important part of change in this area, and we’ll continue to build from an environmental standpoint,” Simon concluded.

Wanderer Festival is happening at Pambula Beach, NSW from September 29 to October 1. Tickets available now, priced according to age – ranging from $50 to $320

Made in partnership with Wanderer Festival.