Narrandera’s Rockin’ on East Festival has received a fresh injection of enthusiasm and new volunteers, vowing to set the town alight in October.
Event founder Allen Law conceded he was on the cusp of retiring from the president’s role after five years, with the small committee of eight struggling to stage the event.
But, 17 people turned up to the January annual general meeting with new ideas and a willingness to roll up their sleeves to save the event planned for October 2-4.
“We are back in force again – we have a lot more helpers on board this year,” Mr Law said.
He said the success of the weekly Rockin’ on East rock ‘n’ roll dancing classes created year long momentum for the event.
“That has given people the enthusiasm and passion to be involved with organising the festival.
“In the past we had a great committee but we are all getting tired, and needed the new blood.
“Our new committee members have come up with some great ideas so for 2020 we have an exciting program.”
The traditional meet and greet with live enter-tainment will be held on Friday, October 4.
The action will move to East Street on the Saturday until 4pm followed by live entertainment that evening at the Narrandera Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
Mr Law said headline act, Midnight Drifters, had been secured for the festival. Midnight Drifters play a mix of rock n roll, rockabilly, ballads and original songs.
“This is a high priority band and I’m excited to have them booked for the festival,” he said. “This is one of the bands rock and roll clubs travel miles to see and they have a huge following.
“We do get the support from the locals but we rely on the rock ‘n’ roll clubs to bring up to 50 members each.
“When it comes to the entertainment, we must look at what they want. Last year we gained three extra rock ‘n’ roll clubs and if we can gain an extra dance club each year, that means the festival is working.”
Mr Law researches entertainment throughout the year to ensure it is fresh and exciting for the event program.
The entertainment on the Sunday morning of the festival will be at the Marie Bashir Park.
ShElvis will be back by public demand this year and will perform upbeat gospel music, followed by Miss Kitty and the Memphis Trio, of Wangaratta, market stalls and a vehicle show n’ shine.
Rockin’ on East will conclude on the Sunday night with Sydney band Matchbox at the Narrandera Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
“We want to encourage more locals to get involved and come to see the bands,” Mr Law said.
The festival drew 3500 visitors last year and the committee likes to dovetail with the Barellan Good Old Days festival to provide additional entertainment for their visitors.
“Every weekend, there is a rock ‘n roll festival somewhere in NSW or Victoria, and to get on that calendar of events is an honour on its own,” Mr Law said.
Mr Law said the rejuvenated event and new-look Narrandera Folk Festival were a shot in the arm for the town.
He said the five-year-old Rockin’ on East was now paying its own way.
“If it ever comes to the stage where it is not working, I will be the first one to pull the pin.
“With the generosity of sponsors and the people of Narrandera, the festival will continue.”
Mr Law was re-elected president at the annual general meeting, with Neville Kschenka as vice-president, Tony Andracchio as treasurer and Judith Jenkinson as secretary.