It’s been a long time coming, but finally summer is on the horizon (hello daylight savings), and what better way to break us in than with Victoria’s answer to Glastonbury circa 1970, Happy Wanderer.
Based on a farm in North East Victoria, Happy Wanderer was inspired by resident farmer (and father to one of HW’s creators), who transformed the site for a festival of his own back in the 70s. Fast forward a few decades and a collective volunteering stint on the farm in 2011 led to imaginations running wild once again – resulting in the inauguration of Happy Wanderer.
What started with a handful of friends, some local beers and a repurposed truck, soon escalated into a sell-out festival attracting wanderers from far and wide. Now in its sixth year, the festival continues its organic evolution – still channelling the boutique, free-spirited vibe it has become known and loved for.
Now you’d be forgiven for thinking that such an intimate festival would attract a line-up relative to its size, but think again. The team have served up a disproportionately big listing, featuring an assortment of talent from Victoria and beyond.
Melbournian powerhouse, Thando has been revealed as one of the Wanderer headline acts, bringing her soulful, bluesy rhythms to the Bower Stage. After shooting to fame following her appearance on the Australian Voice, Thando has been gracing stages all around Australia, including a recent sell-out performance at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. Expect to hear tracks from her Digital Love Letters EP, alongside more recent releases like NUMB.
Fellow Vic resident, DRMNGNOW also features on the listing, renowned for producing indigenous beats with a poetic overlay. His performances aim to educate and evoke a sense of compassion to his audience. Recent release ‘Indigenous Land’, is case and point, offering a no holds barred insight into his Journey as a Yorta Yorta person in modern Australia.
Whether its hip hop, soul, funk, folk, indie, or space-themed disco pop that you’re into – HW has you covered. You can even get up and have a little go yourself, with the Happy Wanderer open mic offering the perfect platform to unleash your inner Thando – shotgun not first…
Check out the full listing here.
Alongside the musical offerings, Happy Wanderer has a whole host of audio-free activities to keep you entertained. Try your hand at arts & crafts, brush up on your dance skills or take it down a notch with some yoga at one of the many workshops on offer.
Competitive nature? Be sure to get involved in the infamous Happy Wanderer Duck Race. The annual event (think pooh sticks, but with ducks…) is held on the broken river and not entered lightly by participants. Grab a duck, head to the river and be in with a chance of winning some prizes (but more importantly, the glory).
After a taxing day of downward dogging and duck racing, get acquainted with the Fat Cat bar where you’ll find the finest in local, sustainable booze. Although the festival is BYO (no glass, obvs), be sure to sample at least a few of the organic tipples on offer. You’ll also find a vast selection of foodie delights on offer to keep you fuelled for the festivities.
If downtime is on the agenda, look no further than the Chai tent where you can curl up with a cuppa, or to wind down even further, simply pitch up your tent and enjoy a few blissful nights under the stars.
Taking place in Benalla from 2nd-5th November, Happy Wanderer welcomes wanderers of all ages and interests so grab your tent, grab a ticket and get involved.
Toes in the earth, love in the heart, laughter in the belly, wander together to a place you belong.
Photo credit: SNEHARGO PHOTOGRAPHY / PIPPA SAMAYA