Open Arms wide for music festival
IT sounds like a logistical nightmare – bringing together 20 bands, DJs and performers to entertain thousands of revellers at Coffs Harbour Showground.
But Open Arms Festival organiser, Jeff Moss, doesn't mind the hard work one bit and he can't wait for the party to start on November 20.
He's proud of the fine reputation this music extravaganza has earned in its three-year history.
“It's a music, lifestyle and cultural event – the lifestyle part of it and the social aspect that it brings to Coffs Harbour is a huge positive,” Jeff said.
“I came to Coffs Harbour three years ago and I thought it could do with something cultural like this.
“Open Arms is what it says – everyone is welcome with our arms out to everybody.
“We encourage families to come, we have an indigenous welcoming ceremony, kids under 10 are free, and it's for people from all walks of life. That's the main idea.”
Jeff said more than 1000 people normally converged on Coffs Harbour from outside the region for the festival with a crowd of at least 5000 expected to fill the showground.
“I've sold lots of tickets but most of them have come from outside of Coffs Harbour. I want Coffs Harbour to get behind it and really rally behind it.
“It has a strong stimulus for the local economy, about $1 million.
“I want the people of Coffs Harbour to be proud of having their own event and not having to go to the big cities to see a quality event.
“It has rolled on to have a cultural, social and economic benefit for the community. Having 20 bands and DJs for $90 is something you can't experience in Coffs Harbour any other time.”
Open Arms – promoted nationally on Triple J radio – will feature some of the biggest bands in the nation with The Living End and Birds of Tokyo topping the bill.
“I book the bands six months in advance but I have to keep my ears to the ground. We like to mix it up every year,” Jeff said.
“There will be two stages with 10 bands on each stage and there will be plenty of markets, stalls and roving performers.
“It goes from 11am to 10pm and free buses will be running afterwards into Coffs Harbour and Sawtell.”
Jeff said up to 200 people would be working at the event and he would rely on a core crew of 10.
He's also worked closely with police who will issue a $370 fine for fence jumping, a clampdown which he welcomes.
As if Open Arms wasn't enough to keep him occupied, Jeff is also behind the Warm Winter's Day festival in June and he runs the Battle of the Bands competition in October.
For more details go to www.openarmsfestival.com.