Good wine and good music should go hand in hand, right? This weekend, this formula is going to be playing out in some of the country’s best wine country, with South Australia’s Silver Raven Festival taking place for its second year out in the Barossa Valley. The Americana extravaganza, born out of a desire to bring a world class line up out to perform against a stunning SA backdrop, has grown in its second year, featuring the likes of Strand of Oaks, Henry Wagons & The Only Children, Jonny Fitz and Jen Cloher, while Adelaide’s own Wanderers and The San Sebastian have been drummed up for the 2017 event.
Still, getting a festival – complete with high ambition and sights set for future events – off the ground successfully and growing it into an entity of its own, isn’t without its challenges. While Silver Raven and its home at the Turkey Flat Vineyards isn’t a long drive out of the city, the prospect of heading out of town and its immediate surrounds still remains a hurdle for many. But, as Festival Director Alex Schulz tells us, it’s an experience worth heading out for.
Thinking back on the delivery of the 2016 festival, what would you say the main highlight and the main challenge was?
For me the highlight of last year was the vibe on site, post the Bad//Dreems set. They played an absolute “face melter” of a show!
There are many challenges associated with getting a small, independent festival off the ground. Planning, licencing, catering, staffing etc etc. The most anxiety derives from the unknown… The weather!
Has this influenced the way this year’s Silver Raven has been programmed, planned to be executed?
Not really. Being grapegrowers, we are accustomed to being at the mercy of Mother Nature.
There’s a definitely flair to the line up of musicians that have been assembled for the festival this year; how much of that comes down to personal music taste and how much of that has been a result of new music discovery for you?
The line-up is definitely a reflection of Dan‘s and my tastes. We are lucky to have access to a rich pool of talent through touring gurus Love Police.
The festival is held out at the winery at which you work and your family owns – was there any initial apprehension about bringing a live music event out in to this particular territory?
Lots of apprehension! But the success of Day on the Green shows in this region made us buoyant. The Barossa winemaking community has forever been linked with the arts and music industry. I see events like this to be a natural extension to our existing business.
These sorts of events (live music in wine regions) are indeed becoming more popular, and popular across the age demographic as well; what happened, in your opinion, that has made these sorts of festival appear to be more accessible for a younger crowd?
I think the smaller festival package appeals to all demographics. Festivals like Laneway and DOTG have paved the way for all boutique festivals regardless of the genre. Punters expect a higher quality experience in less traditional environments.
There’s always going to be an opinion that because this event isn’t held in the city, it’s not worth trekking out for, even though really, it’s not that far away – if you were selling Silver Raven to a first timer, how would you position it?
The Barossa really isn’t that far away. I would say to anyone umming and ahhhing… jump in the car, cruise onto the Northern Expressway, whack on Strand of Oaks new LP Hard Love and by the time to album finshes you will find yourself in Tanunda. A mere 50 minute trek.
Are you looking forward to any artists on the bill in particular? Who would you be recommending?
I’m looking forward to everything! It’s going to be great to see the Crannitch brothers (The San Sebastian) and their mates back on stage. Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett are one of Australia’s most exciting duos, can’t wait for that! Also a great chance to see Strand of Oaks before he explodes.
The Silver Raven Festival takes place at the Turkey Flat Vineyards in the Barossa Valley tomorrow, April 22nd. For tickets and further information, head here.