Parkes Country Music Festival committee retire after almost 30 years

THANK YOU: The judges and comperes throughout September 30's talent quest were presented a gift each for their support of this year's festival.
THANK YOU: The judges and comperes throughout September 30's talent quest were presented a gift each for their support of this year's festival.

The Parkes and District Country Music Association says it’s time for a new era for its annual 2PK Parkes Country Music Festival.

After 50 years of running a successful event and organisers now aged in their 70s and 80s, the present committee has decided to retire.

The festival’s future now hangs in the balance unless someone steps up to take the reins.

The official decision was announced during this year’s golden celebrations on the October long weekend.

It was a decision not made lightly by the committee but one that brought some relief.

“It is tinged with sadness for us all, but also relief,” vice president and talent quest coordinator Lindy Charlton said.

“This 50th year event is the final function of this nature to be run by the present committee. 

“We are all retiring, with some of us having now put in almost 30 years to run our talent quest and festival.”

Lindy herself has given 29 years to the event, saying the job was a 12 month commitment for many dedicated people.

It involved committee members working between 20 and 30 hours a week for many months.

“I myself have probably put in 80 hours in the last week [before the festival],” Lindy said.

“I am extremely proud of our achievements but now, I am retiring, along with the rest of the festival committee.

“[Our 50th] was a huge success, one of the best we have had for many, many years, which is great because we are going out with a bang.”

Parkes and District Country Music Association life member Dale Cowell said it was disappointing to see that the festival may come to an end.

“But change is good,” he said.

“It’s time to turn a new leaf.

“We (Parkes and District Country Music Association) had it for the longest tenure, it’s time to let someone else take it over.”

Dale is looking forward to the rest, saying it’ll be the first October long weekend in 28 years he won’t have anything on.

“I’ll be able to go to another festival,” he laughed.

Lindy said there are hopes someone or some organisation in the community will take it over, so that the festival may continue.

“We received more than 200 entries for this year’s talent quest, how can you stop it?” She said.

“I don’t want to see it end but 29 years of doing this is more than enough.

“There have been many people from different areas saying they will help us, but unfortunately we don’t need assistance, we need someone else to start off a whole new entity and run with it, take it in a completely different direction if necessary.

“This was the situation that was reached back in the eighties when it appeared that there was to be no future.

“Peter McQuie, Robert Dumesny, Don Magire and a few others stepped up and continued for a few years then it was taken over by the Country Music Association.

“If there is a body out in the wider community that wishes to continue on with the tradition, we wish them well.”