By Kirsty Colbert
When one thinks of music festivals, Whyalla probably isn’t the first location that springs to mind. This is all about to change, with the launch of the Hidden Music Festival in “steel city” next month.
To be held in Whyalla’s pristine Ada Ryan Gardens on Saturday, April 21, the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival will feature some of Australia’s biggest DJs, from Melbourne’s Will Sparks to Perth’s Bombs Away.
Homegrown SA talent will also be on display with the likes of Whyalla’s Jack Corbett and Port Augusta’s Nick Finn on the decks.
The event will be the largest of its kind held outside of Adelaide and was envisioned by Port Pirie local, Diversity Entertainment Manager Andrew Leske.
Andrew, who was previously an aspiring DJ and music producer, created Diversity Entertainment in 2010 after realising he had a passion for the event planning and management side of performing.
Since then he has recruited more than 10 DJs as well as five live performers across South Australia, managing and coordinating gigs not only regionally but in Adelaide and nationally.
“The one thing they all have in common is rural ties,” he says.
“They’re all fairly young rural musos, or live in Adelaide but originally from the country – that has been a major aim of mine from the very start.”
Diversity Entertainment also has five full time venues, and works closely with several other hotels to plan stand-alone events from festivals, pop up bars, wine tours and more.
Andrew says that youth across regional South Australia share a love of EDM and often travel to cities around the country to see their favourite acts perform. He wanted to see the region benefit from a music festival, not only for music fans, but for Whyalla economically.
Organisers of the event will spend thousands in the region, from secured fencing to alcohol, food, and security.
Andrew will hire locals to assist in running the event, and local accommodation is also benefitting from the many EDM lovers travelling to Whyalla for the festival.
Andrew and the team have also garnered support from the Whyalla City Council, who are not only happy for the economic boost to the city, but welcome entertainment for the city’s younger demographic.
“I chose Whyalla for a couple of simple reasons; its central location to other regional centres, the Ada Ryan Gardens are easily one of the most beautiful venues in Regional SA, and the council’s unbelievable support and trust in me,” he says.
“The entire concept is to drum up tourism and economic benefit in different regional centres. I thought Whyalla was worthy of the very first instalment.”
More than 600 tickets for the event have already been sold across South Australia from Whyalla to Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, Riverland and Murray Bridge.
If the inaugural festival is well received, Andrew says the team hopes to make it an annual event, with a new regional town to host each year.
Hidden Music Festival
2:00pm, Sat 21 April, 2018
Ada Ryan Gardens, Whyalla SA
Buy tickets here
Top photo: Whyalla DJ Duo Jack Corbett and Corey Mulligan AKA “Jakpot”, courtesy of The Dog and Duck Adelaide.
Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>
These inspiring regional stories made possible by: