Committed to growing festival for the good of Narrandera

Noel Stallard in his garb as John O’Brien met up with many familiar faces at the John O’Brien Festival at the Marie Bashir Park.

Another year has come and gone and once again the John O’Brien Bush Festival has not only showcased Narrandera to the world but also the work of poet John O’Brien aka Father Patrick Hartigan.

Treasurer for the organising committee Warwick Smith said the committee were overwhelmed by the support of the residents and businesses of Narrandera.

“The whole event had a great atmosphere and a great setting in Marie Bashir Park,’’ Mr Smith said. “Thanks to Narrandera Council for all of their staffs’ work to bring the park to life for the event.”

With over 600 people through the gates and the vast majority of those attending being from Narrandera, Mr Smith said the organising committee would evaluate the data collected during the event.

“We cannot thank Narrandera’s residents enough for their on-going support,’’ he said. “We are delighted to say that we have the “seed money” for John O’Brien 2020 and we fully intend on taking the feedback onboard that we receive from our visitors and performers alike and put into place any changes that we feel necessary to make the festival even better.”

Integral to the success of any community event is the support of the sponsors but also those who volunteered their time during the event.

“A very big thank you must go to Narrandera Council for their ongoing support, our sponsors for their monetary and infra-structure support during the festival,” Mr Smith said. “Thank you to our wonderful volunteers from those up at 4.30am on Friday to those that were able to be there last thing Sunday afternoon and all the hours in between.”

Mr Smith pulled no punches when asked what the relevance of such an event was in 2019 and ongoing into the 21st century.

“It focuses our attention on our roots, it is an opportunity to celebrate the passion of those involved in presenting this wonderful work in a time of iPhones, lap tops and the modern world.”

“Let’s face facts we are up against Netflix, we need to honour the work of those wonderfully iconic Australian poets, their work is a quintessentially “Aussie” way of looking at the world.”

“But we also need to find new ways of bringing the work to the broader community, to have it evolve; the Hip Hop poetry competition was a very good example of doing just that.”

And moving forward to the next John O’Brien Bush Festival?

“We want to hear from the public via our feedback survey link attached to the John O’Brien festival Facebook page.

“The committee is very excited at the chance to once again showcase Narrandera in 2020.”

“Narrandera needs this festival and we need to do what we can to ensure it continues, formats might need to change, but the committee is determined to see this wonderful Narrandera oriented event continue and in doing so grow.”

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