18 January 2024

Wallaby Creek Festival still set to go ahead despite flood destruction

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Equipment and building damage

Wallaby Creek festival director Jen says the site was left like a warzone after the cyclone and flood. Photo supplied.

The Cape York Folk Club says it will need the community’s help to ensure their beloved local events can go ahead this year.

The Wallaby Creek Festival site was heavily damaged in the recent flooding, and a significant amount of festival equipment was lost.

Folk Club president and festival director Jen Midgley said the site was left like a war zone.

“It was certainly a shock the first time I walked on the site,” she told Cape York Weekly.

“The beautiful Wallaby Creek camping is no more, every tree has been bent over with the force of the flood waters.

“What a blow; we had it so nice and manageable.”

Ms Midgley said that every building, marquee and tractor on the site was submerged in water, with even the higher ground offices caked with mud behind their ceiling sheets.

Water tanks were also ripped off their pipeline, freezers washed down the paddock and an enormous amount of rubbish and debris caught up in the gully.

“I don’t think we’ll have a normal festival; it will have to change some,” Ms Midgley said.

Festival grounds covered in mud

The festival grounds were covered in 30sm of mud. Photo: supplied.

“There is less campground accommodation for a start. We have lost a lot of our performer accommodation equipment but we have been washing what we can.

“The Folk Club will need to buy more bedding and stretchers for performer accommodation and replace all our ticketing, IT equipment and electrical and battery tools.”

Ms Midgley said the community had rallied around them to clean and restore whatever could be salvaged.

“The Rural Fire Brigade has been a great help with washing down buildings and furniture. We have also had wonderful help in the form of our groundsman and the Lion’s Club members who are restoring our tractors, big generator and ride-on mower,” she said.

“It’s also been great to see volunteers turning up to help and we have made inroads in many critical areas.”

The Folk Club had also been making significant efforts to purchase the festival site, but that has now been put on hold.

“The lessor has kindly given us another three-year lease so that we can get back on top and finalise the subdivision and festival site purchase,” Ms Midgley said.

The committee is aiming to clean and restore the site by July for the Regenerative Agriculture event.

“We look forward to having the ReGen event in July so that’s our deadline,” the president said.

“Now it’s just a hard slog for a few months, and the wet season is upon us.”

The Cape York Folk Club is hosting clean up bees every Saturday from 8am.

Lunch is provided to volunteers.

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