As challenging as it was, the Event Organisers managed to build a festival venue from the ground up at Charles Darwin Reserve, approximately 400km from Perth and 60km from the nearest town. The remote position of the site meant all key infrastructures for creating the site was trucked in travelling hundreds of kilometres. The Site Manager did an exceptional job of keeping track of site requirements as even a missing screw or bolt meant a 120km round trip to the nearest supplier!
"If you build it, they will come" and come they did, 700 revellers in fact,
from far and wide to be part of the inaugural event which was held in
celebration of Bush Heritage Australia's 10 year anniversary as custodians of Charles Darwin Reserve.
On a day that was designed to "engage, inspire and delight", event goers were treated to a range of activities and interactive displays that focused on connecting with the environment and community. The University of Tasmania's Professor Ted Lefroy and CSIRO's Dean Revell put together a thought provoking "food for thought" program featuring speakers discussing landscape management and rural renewal.
The Slow Food Movement attended the event from Perth sharing their philosophy in building networks between grower and eater, agriculture and market, community and world as well as championing good, clean and fair food in ways that enhance knowledge. They demonstrated some great cooking techniques using sustainable and local produce and event goers were treated to some extremely tasty and wholesome meals.
Children were entertained with fairies, art and craft, kite making workshops, bouncy castles and muralists making it easy for parents to relax and enjoy the Open Day program.
Bush Heritage Australia ecologists led guided tours showcasing the reserves native flora and fauna while offering visitors the opportunity to see firsthand the conservation work the organisation does. Simon Horsburgh, the event's graphic designer, led a photographic tour for those keen photographers keen to take advantage of the abundant natural beauty of the reserve.
As the day turned to dusk, the Open Day made way for the Blues for the Bush Concert. Music lovers spread out their picnic blankets under the stars and sat back to enjoy the line-up of talented blues and roots performers hailing from across Australia. Kicking off with Perenjori's own "Local Lad", Wokka set the scene for the night to come with Dalwallinu's Cody Sundstrom and band followed by Charles Jenkins (VIC) both warming up the crowd. Hat Fitz and Cara (QLD) turned out to be a crowd favourite with their unique brand of foot stomping blues lifting many to their feet. The dancing continued well into the night with headliner Toby Beard (WA) capping off a stellar line up.