Mr POWELL (Glass House–LNP) (9.59 pm): Much has been said about the weekend that Splendour in the Grass hit Woodford. I will be honest and admit that I am not really into Wolfmother and certainly I have not signed up to the Scissor Sister’s fan club. However, I was disappointed that I missed out on tickets to hear artists such as Florence and the Machines, Clare Bowditch and Washington, not to mention Paul Kelly and the band currently on constant replay in my car, Mumford and Sons. There is no denying the festival was a massive success at its new, albeit temporary, home. However, it is not without some difficulties for locals. Quite frankly, despite the annual Woodford Folk and Dreaming Festivals, Woodford was not prepared for the enormous influx of Splendour ticket holders. To be honest, the uncertainty surrounding a festival of this scale was reflected in the conversations I had with locals in the lead up to Splendour. I remember being at the Woodford Show in June, talking to the Woodford Show Society president, Doug Chicken, about his concerns. Local’s fears appeared to be confirmed when many parents could not get through to their schoolkids on the Thursday afternoon, because the D’Aguilar Highway had turned into a car park.
But Woodford embraced Splendour in the Grass and the verdict is nothing but positive. The catchcry going around town is ‘See you next year, Splendour’. Much of that has to do with the countless volunteers who kept up spirits in and around Woodford. Many volunteers gave up their valuable time, but I will mention just a few. Firstly, from the Woodford Show Society, Barry and Margaret Ferris, Peter and Bobbie Winkel and Ron Trim are incredible people who welcomed the Splendour campers with open arms, providing comfort and, at times, some much needed support to stranded young campers. Exhausted from being on and off their feet for the entire duration–Barry and Margaret actually camped on the floor of the show secretary’s office–not once did they complain. Instead, they enjoyed the experience of exchanging stories with the travellers, administering first aid to festival goers and learning new-age art from a talented young Scottish girl. They even got to know who some of the current artists are, even if they are scratching their heads or stifling a laugh at the more outrageous names. Ron described the guests as ‘a bunch of great kids’ and, in return, the campers showed nothing but respect to the Show Society people. All up, the Show Society is happy to have the campers back next year; they just need to make a few adjustments to the facilities.
I also mention Councillor Adrian Raedel, his partner Kerri and Sergeant Jason Renwick of the Woodford police. Adrian and Jason spent the better part of four days responding to complaints about traffic and noise, as well as dealing with the logistical issues associated with tens of thousands of camping festival goers. In Adrian’s case, that was on top of his normal duties across division 12, which is one of the largest divisions in the local government authority. He and Kerri even found time to help the Woodford scouts with their manically busy barbecues. Until till next year, Splendour–and this time I am getting some tickets!