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A BLUES and roots festival
being planned for Waikerie
has taken a step forward after
a steering committee was
formed earlier this month.
About 15 people attended a
community meeting at the Waik-
erie Hotel on Thursday, Decem-
ber 4, to discuss the idea, and six
were elected to join the steering
Among them was Susie Sku-
jins, who said the meeting attract-
ed positive feedback and ideas.
“We had some very interesting
questions,” she said.
“The group was very positive
about the idea, and we were able to
create a steering committee.
“We discussed everything
from how the festival will run to
where it will be run and accom-
The proposed festival would
include a weekend-long blues and
roots event in the second half of
It would aim to showcase local
and interstate talent.
Ms Skujins said the event
would begin on a Friday eve-
ning, with buskers kicking off the
“We thought of having a pop
up buskers cafe so buskers can
come register, with the idea that
the best three will play at the fes-
tival,” she said.
“The Friday night will be the
finals of that, and then on Sat-
urday morning local cafes and
bakeries will host solo and duet
groups, then a family-friendly
stage will begin.”
The event is likely to involve
many local venues, including the
Waikerie Hotel Motel and the
Ms Skujins said the festival
would have something for ev-
“We thought we could have
headline acts in the pub and club,”
“Then we would have a family-
friendly stage in front of Haven-
hand Chocolates that would be
alcohol and smoke free.
“There is going to be music all
around the place.”
Musician Roger Smith has
been appointed festival director
and will be in charge of bookings,
stages and sound equipment and
Ms Skujins said Mr Smith was
well known across the state’s blues
and roots community.
“He has won awards for his
help to the roots and blues com-
munity,” she said.
“He knows a lot of musicians
and bands, and I am really excited
that he jumped at the chance to
“I think the event could attract
a minimum of 2000 people.”
Ms Skujins said the steering
committee wanted to involve the
“One of our main aims is to
make this a community festival,”
“We want to get a lot of people
involved in the festival, because
when it comes to running the fes-
tival we will be needing volunteers
to help out.
“We have only floated around
ideas of dates but we are looking
at either August, September or
“We want to run it a bit later
because the musicians we are
looking at booking are booked a
year in advance.
“There hasn’t been a festival
like this before in the state.
“I walked around shops and
talked to people and they are
The committee is running a
competition for people to submit
their suggestions for the name of
The winner of the competition
will win $50, and their suggestion
will be the new name of the
Those interested can submit
their entries at Cafe on McCoy.
Festival idea strikes a chord
A CROWD of more than 250
enjoyed a night of singing at the
Waikerie Civic Centre lawns for
the Carols by Candlelight event on
This year’s event was hosted by the
Anglican Church with assistance from
the Church of Christ.
Pastoral assistant Janet Grosse said
she was pleased with the number of
“It was a really exceptional eve-
ning,” she said.
“We received lots of great comments,
and it was truly a lovely event.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their
attendance, which made it a really spe-
Father Paul Devenport and District
Council of Loxton Waikerie deputy
mayor Michael Vowles both read Christ-
mas messages, and Mark Taylor was the
The night also included Bible read-
ings and performances by the commu-
nity choir – led by Dr Michael Betts,
the Lutheran Church band and two
Mainly Music had children singing
along, while students from the Waikerie
Lutheran and Ramco primary schools
The Country Fire Service (CFS), St
John Ambulance and the South Austra-
lian Police were all thanked for their
efforts in helping the community.
Donations were accepted during the
night and raised $708 for the CFS and St
The Waikerie Rotary Club hosted a
free sausage sizzle for spectators and
Singing into Christmas
ABOVE: Sunday’s Carols by Candlelight
attracted a crowd of more than 250.
RIGHT: Rotary Club of Waikerie
members (from left) Trevor Quast, Peter
Fechner, Roger Davies, Barry Harden
and Ted Angove were on hand to serve
a free sausage sizzle to attendees.
PHOTOS: Ryneisha Bollard
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Mr Ackland told The River News council un-
derstood the time limits associated with retaining
a caravan park at Waikerie.
“Council is acutely aware of the community’s
desire to have a caravan park as quickly as pos-
sible, and that’s what we are working towards,”
The Edwards Group chief executive officer Ste-
phen Edwards said he was pleased to see progress
being made on the matter.
“That’s obviously very positive news, and I’m
very excited to hear that,” he told The River News.
“I look forward to working with council on the
next step in getting a river front caravan park built
As revealed earlier this year, The Edwards
Group’s commercial viability concerns regarding
the caravan park redevelopment include a $1 mil-
lion shortfall in being able to deliver the facility
without operating at a loss.
Government agrees to sell
river front land at Waikerie
Singing into Christmas
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