Case Studies Nannup Music Festival | RAF Case Study (2018 - 2020)


A multi-year Community Project Grant recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund, as managed by Regional Arts WA.

Nannup is a small historic town in the centre of WA's stunning Southwest, on the banks of the beautiful Blackwood River. The Nannup Music Festival is an annual 4-day music festival, which has been running continuously on the WA Labor Day weekend since 1989. The festival includes live music, bush poetry, interactive activities, workshops, presentations, and non-music art activities across a range of ticketed and free venues. The Festival attracts audiences and artists from the local region, statewide, nationally, and internationally, and includes over 90 acts. The festival has an Emerging Artist Award, a Busking Competition, and a strong Indigenous component. It is family friendly and has a strong environmental focus.

With support from the Regional Arts Fund, Nannup Music Club was able to increase their financial sustainability and continue to offer paid performances to their target groups of emerging, young, Indigenous, and regionally-based musicians.

Providing paid performance opportunities allows these musicians to expose their music to the unique and diverse audiences that attend the festival. It is also an opportunity for interaction with peers, colleagues, and audiences through workshops and shared camping experiences, in the relaxed and informal environment of the Festival. In addition, there is opportunity to link with other paid performances within the region before and after the Festival.

The emerging artists component showcases new talent to a wide, receptive, and supportive audience, providing a pathway for performers to develop skills and approach. The wining prize of studio recording time further supports and enhances artists’ development. Integral to this ‘mainstream’ Festival is the programming of Indigenous artists, many from remote areas. Whilst they may have Indigenous or local audience recognition, the Festival provides opportunity to perform before new and different audiences, benefiting artists, and highlighting the range and talent of Indigenous performers to audiences.

Audiences gain exposure to a broad range of musical and art performances catering to all ages and interests in a contained setting with excellent supporting infrastructure (camping, transport, food stalls, children's activities and security) and efficient organisation and management. There is plenty of opportunity for audiences to interact with artists, performers, and other audience members through workshops, bush poetry breakfast, blackboard stage (buskers), and street activities. Overall, the festival provides enjoyment in a safe, inclusive, and vibrant environment.

For the local community, the Festival provides the rare opportunity to enjoy affordable, live and immediate artworks and performances in the region. There is opportunity to be involved on the organising committee, or by volunteering; and opportunity for generation of income by providing goods and services. The Festival provides an economic and psychological boost to the small township and surrounding community, whilst playing an important role in promoting the region.

The Committee adopts a deliberate strategy of constant review and improvement of all parts of the Festival. The logistical aspects of the Festival underpin the artistic outcomes the Festival aims to deliver, and these are considered and planned well in advance. Many strategies run over multiple years, such as the aim to be environmentally friendly. For example, the Committee’s long standing policy of minimising plastic waste (a difficult task) resulted this year in the sale of multiple use, long lasting and recyclable wine ‘glasses’ rather than plastic.

The Committee is acutely aware of the challenges facing small communities in sustaining large events over many years, including Committee burn-out, engagement of volunteers, financial resources, logistics, and ongoing community, government, and private/philanthropic support. These issues are directly addressed by the Committee. Strong efforts are made to develop and strengthen partnerships to support the Festival. The Committee has co-ordinator positions for volunteers, sponsorship, and recently added a grants development position, to assist in funding submissions (especially pursuing multi-year grants) and other direct financial or in-kind support, to ensure the Festival remains viable.

The Committee has strong professional links and partnerships with other organisations, agencies, and individuals, to ensure the Festival remains appraised of current practices, opportunities, and support mechanisms. This includes liaison and consultation with the local and regional communities, small businesses, service providers, local government, schools, government agencies, and regional events. The Festival is part of a mutually supportive and cross-promotional network of regional arts and other events. It benefits from, and contributes to, the development of the region as a ‘destination’.

RAF Annual Event Funding has greatly assisted the Nannup Music Club Inc (NMC) in its operation, annual program and delivery of the flagship event, the Nannup Music Festival (NMF).

Impacts:

  • Over 17 partnerships across Federal, State, local government, private business, education and community organisations.
  • Both the 2019 and 2020 festivals sold out
  • Significant contribution to cultural tourism in the region, with up to 10,000 visitors over the festival weekend.
  • Contribution to new permanent residents – real estate reports that many people who relocate to the area do so after attending the festival.
  • Emerging Artist awards act as platform to launch new talent
  • Programming focus on emerging, regional and Indigenous artists provides opportunities for artists
  • Securing and development of the Nanup Music Club premises, working towards the transformation of the new property into a creative hub for the community of Nannup and beyond. The new venue will host concerts, workshops and hopefully residencies during the year.
  • Hosted the 2019 Nannup National Youth Week event at the Secret Garden (NMC premises).
  • In December 2018, the NMF won Best Live Event in WA (National Live Music Awards)
  • Acting as the lead organisation, secured funding for the purchase of event equipment (stretch marquee), which will be stored in the Nannup Community Shed and shared between the NMF, Nannup Flower & Garden Festival, Tour of Margaret River and Nannup Arts Council.

Applicant location: Nannup, WA
Project Location: Nannup, WA
Amount of RAF support: $75,000 (over three years)
Total project cost: $1,857,200.00

Regional Arts WA Horizontal
Nanup 2019 Festival Lane David Bailey 4
30th Nannup Music Festival: Sold Out! Photographer: David Bailey