From humble beginnings in 2003 before drones were a thing, the local producers planted the seed for the Festival. Just like bringing any crop to life and harvest, this group of forward thinkers set about preparing fertile soil for the seed to germinate.
How the Hampton Queensland Festival has grown
The Founding Committee took on the ground preparation. Location was found behind the Tourist Information Centre. The timing was chosen for the beautiful High Country Autumn weather which nourishes but doesn’t burn, and the generosity of volunteers provided the sweat and fertiliser which was needed for the seed to make its way to the surface.
And look at the amazing effect of nurturing and ongoing care 20 years of maturing later.
To maintain the growth, there were establishment phases and ongoing reviews of the content.
Initially starting with showcasing Community Produce and High Country crops, the word soon spread about the quality of the local produce and the high standards of the growers.
Designed to attract the attention of a broader regional and SEQld base, ‘companion planting’ was introduced in the form of the Art Exhibition to make the most of the event and to cater for different tastes. This now renowned component of the Hampton Food, Wine and Art Festival has certainly achieved its growth potential. The efforts of Jenny Foxton in this creative arts space cannot be underestimated.
There must have been thousands and thousands of people who have walked through the white marquee looking at the wonderful array of local art, local artists and local regional depictions. The decision to make the festival about all things in the area has seen the expansion into the local Pechey Gin Distillery, which bears Jenny’s artistic hand in the label.
Wine has been a growth thread, and the ambience is just so right for this to tempt the crowds.
Hybrid growth makes for interesting cropping and often even more interesting and unexpected results, so adding the various music styles over the intervening years has been a boon for the crowds who have taken to the picnic ‘lunch and listen’ laid-back style of the festival with great relish – a definite crowd-pleaser!
Entertainment was acknowledged as being needed to keep the crowds around and enjoying themselves, so the weeding out of some things and the addition of others was part of the nurturing process for the different volunteers, committee members and public to keep putting in the effort each year to bring such an event to fruition.
Repeat festival goers know The Hobsons well – a much-loved local band which have been invited back for this 2023 anniversary. There have been many bands grace the sound stage, and buskers who create the atmosphere across the many sections of the area to keep spirits high and create that sense of lingering for longer.
Speaking of relish, the original notion of a Food Festival has changed over the years from ‘showing what’s growing’ to encouraging others to try or learn or grow their own. It’s grown bigger, better and broader. Growers on the Green has become one of the regular attractions. Its opportunity for curious onlookers to see and hear about both the unusual and the familiar produce and how to identify and use them is definitely a highlight, and highly recommended.
Unlike crops which are turned back into the soil, or completely removed, the Festival has seen what works and has been able to bring enormous economic returns to reflect the aims of the Festival thanks to the astute retention, regeneration and responsiveness from outsiders in the food industry like the noted chefs who have supported the festival with their food flair for the festivals.
Contented crowds, and worn-out volunteers, just like delicious food crops, need a dormant time to replenish energy and to rebuild the anticipation of the next opportunity to amble around in the glorious Autumn weather at this Hampton High Country treat. The history of this wonderful event will be captured in the Anniversary publication to come.
Grab Your 2023 Festival Tickets Here!
We are excited and looking forward to seeing you at this year’s festival.