Organisers have field day in paddock

Party in the Paddock organisers Jesse Higgs, Matt Wheeler and Kaeden Guilbert are preparing for their biggest festival.
Party in the Paddock organisers Jesse Higgs, Matt Wheeler and Kaeden Guilbert are preparing for their biggest festival.

THREE years ago it was literally just a party in the paddock.

Now  it is one of the state’s most talked about festivals, bringing in some of Australia’s best artists and raising awareness for a growing youth issue.

Party in the Paddock, which will be held in February, is the brainchild of Burns Creek 24-year-old Jesse Higgs.

‘‘I once had this idea when I first started making it, imagine every single one of my favourite people and favourite acts in the same place at the one time,’’ the festival director said.

‘‘In some kind of crazy way, it’s happening.’’

Higgs said the festival’s growth had been organic.

‘‘I think we just created something in the right place at the right time,’’ he said.

This year’s festival at White Hills attracted more than 1000 people and next February’s attendance is set to at least double.

But  Higgs doesn’t want it to get too big.

‘‘It’ll lose its vibe if we try and become the next Falls – that’s not what we’re after,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re there to have an exclusive, boutique character.’’

This year’s line-up, which was announced in the past  week, includes headline act The Beautiful Girls, rock group The Smith Street Band and  rapper Allday, as well as many local acts such as Luca Brasi.

Higgs said it took a good six months to secure the line-up.

‘‘I’ve had some experience now through promoting venues and booking Party in the Paddock for the past couple of years to know how to do it,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve enlarged the number of staff (to about 20) and I have an agent I’ve engaged with in Sydney, and we’ve just gone   hammer and tong on it and got a good result.

‘‘We look at acts that are on the rise.

‘‘If you look at last year’s act, we had Sticky Fingers and Kingswood.

‘‘Those sort of guys the following year played Splendour (in the Grass) and have had big albums out in the past year.’’

Higgs and festival artist liaison Kaeden Guilbert said they were excited for The Beautiful Girls as they hadn’t played in Tasmania for a long time and had only recently got back together.

But the act they are most interested to see is The Delta Riggs.

‘‘Something really cool about them is Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin has even latched on to them and showed up at their last show in London and went backstage and told them that he loved their music,’’ Guilbert said.

A new inclusion for Party in the Paddock is that it has become a major supporter of beyondblue.

In March last year, many of the festival’s organisers lost their good friend Chris Horrocks,  a Launceston 21-year-old who died suddenly in Laos.

‘‘After losing a few close friends to the festival since Chris, and a few of them to suicide, we wanted to put out a nice bit of awareness,’’ Higgs said.

‘‘It’s a celebration of life ... and it’s good to reflect on people who aren’t with us today.

‘‘(Chris) loved having a good time, and Party in the Paddock is sort of the ultimate way to celebrate his life and others.’’

Tickets are already available to the family-friendly event, for $99.90 for general admission and $199 for VIP tickets.

The event is BYO alcohol, but no glasses.


WHAT: Party in the Paddock Festival.

WHEN: February 20 and 21.

WHERE: White Hills, before Burns Creek, about 20 minutes out of Launceston.

TICKETS: $99.90 for general admission and $199 for VIP tickets. Online at tickets. or instore at Mojo Music.

Party in the Paddock line-up 2015: The Beautiful Girls, Allday, Jinja Safari, Dune Rats, The Smith Street Band, Tommy Franklin, Willow Beats, The Delta Riggs, Dappled Cities, Luca Brasi, Little Bastard, KLP (DJ Set), Drunk Mums, The Dead Love, Younger Dryas, The Middle Names, Akouo, Save The Clock Tower, Sheriff, Lepers & Crooks, Our House, The Familiars, Briggie Smalls plus more to be announced.


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