Rock the Turf organisers start looking to next year

Tumut’s Rock the Turf, which was postponed this year due to Covid-19, is likely not to be held at all this year, with organising efforts now concentrated on holding the concert next year.

The concert, which was to be headlined by former Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens, was to be held on April 4 before Covid-19 intervened, and the intention was to hold it later in the year. With the resurgence of the virus this option has now been shelved.

“The way it’s going, I can’t see large groups of people getting together this year,” organiser Clayton Denson said.

“I was talking to the hotline, and they think September maybe, but that was before this second breakout in Victoria.”

Organisers are now looking for a date for next year.

Fortunately, the event received a Visy bushfire recovery grant of $25,000.

This money is able to be spent on the concert next year, but what the event will really need is for people to turn up.

“Being a not-for-profit event, all we need to do is survive enough to have it again next year, but it really depends on the people who turn up,” Mr Denson said.

The intention for this year’s event was for it to serve as a platform for thanking the emergency services for their work to protect the community from the Dunns Road bushfire, and organisers are still hoping to be able to do this next year.

Organisers are also still hoping to get Jon Stevens to headline the concert.

“We are hoping to get him again and some new and different acts,” Mr Denson said.

“We’ve looked around the Riverina and tried to get another band from Wagga, and another from Gundagai. It’s hard; you can’t get everybody on stage.”

People have approached the organising committee with an idea of having two stages with youngers acts playing on another stage.

“The problem is that there is not a big enough an area for two stages,” Mr Denson said.

“When the main stage starts, you wouldn’t be able to hear anything else. That’s the only down part of having it down there. The upside is that it is a fantastic location by the river, fully fenced; you need that sort of area to be able to serve alcohol.”

Organisers are taking online promotion of the event to a new level.

The key to the event’s future, once again, will be getting good numbers to turn up to the concert.

“It’s hard to make it bigger and better if you’re not quite getting the crowds you want, because that’s the only way you can make money for next year.”

However, Mr Denson is still optimistic about Rock the Turf’s future.

“The last one we had, we had a lot of people through the gates from out of town, and it was probably the biggest support we got locally, so there was a lot of people from Tumut and surrounding areas that turned up,” he said. 

“People travelled from Victoria and Queensland, but it does take time to get a good foothold. I know we’ve got a lot of other events like Tumbafest and Ciderfest which is great too; we need these events for locals to attend and locals to get up and play.”

Another thing Rock the Turf needs is more volunteers to join the committee and run the event.

“We get a lot of ideas presented to us but we don’t have the manpower to carry them out,” Mr Denson said. 

“There are only 10 of us, so we need more volunteers.”