Cheers to beers and BBQ

CHEERS: Beer and BBQ Fest co-director Aaron Sandow and Ben Hull kicked back and caught up over a few beers during the event's launch.

Tyler Redway

MOUNT Gambier/Berrin is preparing to get frothy as next year’s South East Beer and BBQ Fest is set to touch down in the Limestone Coast for the very first time.

It was announced this week the festival’s 2024 outing will set up shop in the Railway Lands, breaking the event’s tradition of being hosted in Adelaide since its debut in 2015.

South East Beer and BBQ Fest co-director Aaron Sandow said the event had been planned to move to regional South Australia for “quite some time”, but there was no suggestion of a venue which fit the festival’s ideal layout.

“Earlier this year as a part of the July event, we did a series called Untapped, which is a series of Battle of the Bands competition and the winner of each heat performs,” Mr Sandow said.

“It was received so amazingly that we thought maybe there really is a big appetite down here for this sort of show.

“Once we started talking to the councils and the locals, the response we had for it was so overwhelmingly positive so it had to have some merit to it.”

Mr Sandow said the event had a very selective line-up of bands, brands and restaurants which suited the show itself.

“It’s made up of people we have worked with before and have a good working relationship with and people who can explain the concept,” he said.

“A lot of the people we have coming over here from Melbourne are looking for a stop on the way to Adelaide so with Mount Gambier being positioned so close to the city, it makes a lot of sense so we connected the dots with those and now this is where we are.”

Mr Sandow said most of the band line-up consisted of groups who were very eager to either return to the Limestone Coast or continue their regional careers.

He said the environment of the Railway Lands perfectly created the atmosphere the event aimed to have each time it was hosted.

“We obviously love what they do and we track back into the history of bands like The Smith Street Band and Regurgitator, who did well when they were last here, Smith Street was here about five years ago while Regurgitator haven’t played here since roughly 2001,” he said.

“The visual aspect of all the old buildings on the sides is incredible and it’s very much in line with how we like to present our events with a bit of an industrial feel.

“We feel like the site design is going to be very user friendly and will look great, but we are shocked that such an incredible venue is so underutilised.

“We’re in open air now so it’s a strange concept for the event because we usually hold it in July in Adelaide which is notoriously wet and horrible weather, so it’s usually undercover.”

Mr Sandow said next year’s event was not only about bringing it to regional SA but also in hopes of making this version of the festival an entirely unique experience.

“We want this to be a staple on the calendar with each passing year, so we want this event to establish its own identity and become a unique thing for the Limestone Coast region and not just a piggyback from what we are doing in Adelaide,” he said.

“The site, the layout and the look and feel of the event are all things which are going to contribute to the unique style of this in the future.”

The South East Beer and BBQ Fest will make its mark on the Limestone Coast region over a two-day event, from March 9-10, 2024.

The first day will be an 18+ exclusive event, while the second will be open to all ages and families.