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News - May 2014

Easterfest already planning for next year

  • Written by  Jess Everingham
While crowd numbers may have been down, the atmosphere at Easterfest 2014 was as incredible as ever. Photo: Josh Woning

With Easterfest 2014 attracting “rave reviews”, the festival has already announced Switchfoot as a headlining act for 2015.

Event Director Dave Schenk said Switchfoot are consistently “one of the most requested acts to be at the festival”.

The alternative rock band headlined Easterfest 2011, but the festival was washed out by torrential rain.

Anticipation is already building for their return. Dave made the announcement at Easterfest’s Mainstage on Easter Saturday, also revealing that Steve Taylor and Peter Furler will perform at next year’s event.

It’s hoped the popular acts will help reverse 2014’s falling ticket sales.

“The festival doesn’t just rely on artist line-up, but to some people whether they come or not depends on the artist line-up,” Dave said. “Hopefully that will help us turn around the drop in ticket numbers.”

While numbers at the festival site were lower than usual, Dave said anecdotal evidence indicates CBD businesses did not experience the same drop.

The statistics could lead to a change in Easterfest’s free city events in the future.

“We have to do a bit of hard thinking about our model,” he said. “Are we giving away so much for free that people don’t feel they need to buy a ticket?”

But Dave said ticket sales won’t be the only factor in the decision.

“We’re doing what we’re doing in the city because we believe that’s what God wants us to do. So if that’s the case then we also have to believe that God will have provision for that as well.”

Despite the lower ticket sales, organisers have received positive feedback about new initiatives introduced in 2014.

“One of the most significant highlights was the new jazz venue,” Dave said.

The Upbeat put on jazz shows every afternoon and evening of the festival, with performances from artists such as Scat, Idea of North and Bec Laughton.

And while people chilled out to jazz, downtown crowds were moshing in the new Mainstage.

This year was the first time Mainstage has been held under cover, and Dave said people were “nervous” about the change. But the new location has received “rave reviews”.

“The tent amplified the noise of the crowd,” he said. “They had moving lights out over the top. I think the guys outdid themselves in terms of the lighting show.”

One aspect of the weekend that did receive a boost in numbers was the 72 hours of worship at the Empire Theatre. The OC Supertones kicked off the event with a show on Thursday night.

“We don’t actually promote who’s going to be doing what over there, or when, because we just really want the focus to be on worshipping God,” Dave said.

And word seems to be spreading about the “great atmosphere”.

“More people are catching onto the concept,” he said.

Overall Dave was positive about Easterfest 2014, and the team that pulled it all together.

“It was the smoothest run event I’ve ever been a part of in terms of logistics,” he said.“It was great.”

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