WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Looking at success: Former Devonport girl Mella Morgan toasts the success of the Tasmanian Falls Festival at her mum’s Devonport home on Christmas Day yesterday. Picture: Peter LordSince the inaugural Marion Bay festival in 2003-04, Ms Morgan, 25, has had a huge year.
Nanjing Night Net

Now based permanently in Lorne, Ms Morgan, who is the Tasmanian event coordinator, and the other organisers, including her boyfriend Simon Daly, who is the event manager for both the Victorian and Tasmanian Falls Festivals, spend the entire year gearing up for the concerts.

“To be honest, when we first talked about putting on the festival in Tassie, I was a bit dubious about it, but as soon as I saw the beautiful site (on the Dunbabins’ property at Marion Bay), which is such a special place, I just knew it would have to work,” she said.

“And after the first one, we were absolutely thrilled about how it was received.

“It took a bit of a leap of faith to go the whole way and commit to such a big project, but the end result was well and truly worth it.”

Ms Morgan said the event, which this year has attracted headline acts including internationals the Black Keys, De La Soul and Billy Bragg, as well as top Australian bands the John Butler Trio, the Living End and Missy Higgins, had generated a huge amount of pride for both herself and Tasmanians generally.

“The fact that international acts are lining up to come to a fairly remote place on the other side of the world would have been unheard of a few years ago,” she said.

She said after the Lorne festival had become so successful, Mr Daly and the other organisers had been looking to extend the Falls brand to another venue.

“Simon had always had a vision of doing a festival in Tassie, but I suppose he really learnt from me that Tasmania was just so starved of live music, that combined with me constantly telling him of the beauty of the place, which really got him seriously thinking of staging an event down here,” she said.

“And Tassie isn’t the easiest of places to stage such a show logistically.

“But after the first year, when it all went off so smoothly and we got 9000 people there, it proves that if you offer people what they want, they’ll support it.”

She said the organisers were also rapt with the way this year’s concert had been sold out.

“I think the sell-out is a tribute to the way things went last year,” she said.

“We put a lot of effort into creating a positive atmosphere and a positive vibe. We choose the line-up and the staff very carefully and people were absolutely amazing last year, so well behaved and appreciative of our efforts and I guess the word just spread.”

She said they would need to get through this year’s festival before contemplating Falls 2005, but felt confident this was only the beginning of many years of great events for Tasmania.

– Kirsty Eade

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