Festival well supported

Dancers getting lessons from Johnny Phung at the Rockin’ on East Festival.

The Rockin’ on East Festival over the long weekend was hailed as a success, according to committee member Fran Macdonald.

“Basically we were well supported – we drew in a decent crowd and people came in from as far as Perth and Adelaide. I’d call that a success.”

The surprise hit of the weekend was Friday night’s opening band Getupndans.

While Friday has typically been a night to thank the sponsors, this year the Rockin’ on East committee decided to open the evening up to anyone who wished to attend – and attend they did.

“There would have been 60 to 80 people there. Lots of out-of-towners. It’s definitely made us realise that we need to do it again next year,” said Ms Macdonald.

Saturday drew a fair crowd, although the format of the day was changed a little. This year there was more focus on the bands and the music and there were fewer stalls.

“There were more people watching the bands – Amity was awesome, and it was a bit of a shame that Miss Kitty didn’t play to a bigger crowd.

“A lot of people took off after the street parade at about 3pm. Hopefully they went to the club for a dance lesson and not to go and watch the footy grand final,” Ms Macdonald said.

The most fun was to be had at the Pin-Up Competition. “We had heaps of entrants in the Pin-Up Comp – we ran out of forms.”

“The comp would not run without Catalina [McCaw] as our MC. She was the bomb, as usual.”

“Her effervescent personality meant she was drawing people in from the crowd, and she just kept the competition rolling along.”

This year drew a large following of people from Albury-Wodonga, with Miss Rockin’ on East awarded to a Miss Ginger Megs, better known as Megan Carpenter. Ms Carpenter made the trip from Albury to be at the festival and brought a vintage car along with her to drive in the street parade.

Unfortunately, she also had to dash back to Albury to enter the car in another event. The winner of Mr Rockin’ on East was Narrandera’s Kumar Dharmalingam.

Sunday was a more relaxed affair, with the crowds spreading out across the Show and Shine, the market stalls, the swap meet and, of course, the bands.

“There were definitely more people sitting and watching the music. Joe Attana and Terry Leonard and Nigel Stanley were awesome – you’d find yourself looking up and wondering if someone was just playing an Elvis recording, but it was Terry.”

Sunday night saw an increased turn-out for the final band On the Prowl, although interstate holidays meant that some visitors had to leave early.

“The Victorian holidays mean that all the Victorians would have gone by Sunday morning; they don’t get the Monday, they get the Friday instead,” Ms Macdonald explained.

The committee will meet this Wednesday for a debrief and an examination of the finances to see what worked this year and what may need a bit of a tweak.

However, the committee can take heart from one undeniable fact. “It’s definitely growing,” Ms Macdonald said.

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