Around 600 volunteers met to gear up for the 10th Caloundra Music Festival. This is a far cry from the small gathering that met around a couch before the inaugural festival.
Around 600 volunteers met to gear up for the 10th Caloundra Music Festival. This is a far cry from the small gathering that met around a couch before the inaugural festival. Roxanne McCarty-O'Kane

Gearing up for festival of sun, surf and soul

IN the lead up to the inaugural Caloundra Music Festival, a handful of volunteers sat around a lounge to plan the event.

As the festival of sun, surf and soul gears up for its 10th anniversary, festival director Richie Eyles had to book out an auditorium for the volunteer briefing.

"There are almost as many volunteers this year as we had in the audience in year one," Mr Eyles said.

"Some of the volunteers came along (to the festival) when they were six or seven and now have signed up to volunteer for the first time."

Around 600 people have joined the volunteer team this year, among them is Alistair Gillett, "the sound guy", who has been there since the beginning.

"Originally Richie asked me to throw a couple of leads around and put lights in the bar," he said.

"It has progressed a little since then to looking after power for five Stages, multiple generators and food vendors and taking care of generally anything to do with power.

"I've met lots of people who have become great friends and event contacts as well. From my beginnings with the Caloundra Music Festival, it has helped me travel Australia and the world doing events."

The diverse team are as young as 15 and last year, the eldest volunteer was 72. They complete an average of 16 hours of work, resulting in more than 9000 hours from the start of Setepmber through to the event and they receive a season pass to enjoy the festival in their down time.

Over the past nine years, backpackers and exchange students have volunteered from countries such as Japan, Germany, Italy, England and America.

The 10th anniversary will see a few changes to the festival, with a new layout set to maximise space in the Kings Beach amphitheatre precinct.

There will be no Fringe Festival this year, but children's activities will abound in the Funky Forest while headliners Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Cat Empire, Guy Sebastian, ILLY, Icehouse, Thirsty Merc, Lady Hawke, The Preatures and Asta take to the stage over the four days.

Mr Eyles has a long-held affinity with New Orleans and is excited to bring Erica Falls to the festival as part of the international line-up along with British acid jazz band Incognito, blues and folk legend Harry Manx from San Francisco, R&B legends Tower of Power and New Zealand reggae sons The Black Seeds.

Mr Eyles said he had deliberately steered clear of running an event that was dependent on the top pop music acts and instead focused on a well-rounded eclectic array of musicians and genres to cater for all tastes.

Sunshine Coast councillor Tim Dwyer agreed the festival had become renowned for being a family-friendly beach festival that appealed to a broad range of music lovers.

"This year, the festival will continue to deliver high quality talent and entertainment," he said.

The Caloundra Music Festival will run from September 30 to October 3 at Kings Beach.

For tickets or more information, visit www.caloundramusicfestival.com.au.



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