The festival aims to provide a wide variety of musical genres and over the years has managed to engage a very broad range of artists from all walks of music, many of whom are internationally acclaimed performers.
The organising committee is comprised of local volunteers plus many from further afield who join in meetings via phone link. When attending various music festivals, organiser Anne Baker always seems to be in the presence of various committee members and is constantly on the lookout for potential artists and useful ideas to improve on the running of the WC festival. The committee has a diversified range of skills, talents and experience to draw upon and as a consequence, the festival goes from strength to strength each year. It is held annually on the third weekend in May and so far has been nominated for two ‘Events of the Year’ in the local shire Australia Day awards, both being successful, firstly in 2010 and recently in 2016.
The Festival began in 2010 with encouragement from Trevor Knight who during 2009 performed at the Wilcannia Golf Club along with Natalie Foley as supporting artist. Trevor suggested we put White Cliffs on the map by doing a music festival. So the idea smouldered for a few months and we decided to co-ordinate the concert with Natalie’s performance at the Eulo festival as she would be in the vicinity (600 km plus). So Nat wandered down to White Cliffs, bringing a small following with her and performed at 2010, 2011 and the 2012 festivals until her husbands work took her further afield.
With many performers giving freely of their time and asking for just a little to cover fuel costs we have since been successful in applying for grants which helps in paying a realistic performance fee, travel and accommodation costs.
Our first festival was organised in six weeks, combined with the local Arts Group who conducted an Art Show in combination with the music concert. There had previously been an exhibition in Broken Hill of local artist’s work but many had been unable to access this due to heavy rains and road closures. So “The Bringing it Home” art show opened with a gala evening of cheese and wines and formal speeches and people taking the opportunity to glam up in semi formal evening attire.
In 2011 we struck out big time and decided to hold an outdoor concert on the Bill O’Reilly Oval and were lent two Pantek truck trailers to use as a stage. As luck would have it, this was the coldest night of any festivals ever held, with an icy cold South wind blowing in the faces of the singers and freezing the fingers of the guitarists. Travis Sinclair brought a huge sound set-up along with technicians who were plied with hot coffees as they stood there for hours producing fantastic sound for everyone. Utes were backed up in a semi-circle, complete with armchairs or mattresses, doonas, beanies, scarves and gloves, the odd thermos or two and no doubt a Bundy or three to sustain the audience throughout the concert. Eventually, someone lit the bonfire!!!
In the following years we reverted to the Community Hall and over the seven consecutive years, have experienced some really fantastic performances from highly acclaimed artists such as Ted Egan, Phil Manning, Natalie Foley, Hamilton County Bluegrass Band from New Zealand, Travis Sinclair, Grant Luhrs and the Chook Raffle Band, Royden Donohue, Euripi, the Davidson Brothers and of course our resident band from Wilcannia, The Black Shadows. In 2019 we will celebrate our 10 Anniversary with many of these artists being invited back for our “Best of the Best” feature concert.