By Angela Norval
Bundaberg is set to welcome the first electronic dance music festival of its kind, described as Bundy’s biggest party.
DAYZFEST Music Festival will debut this year on 23 October and for eight hours will feature some of Australia’s most prolific electronic dance music (EDM) producers and DJs, alongside local performers from Bundaberg and the Wide Bay.
The event is the brainchild of Stephen Smith, a Bundaberg native and professional musician.
He’s collaborating with his wife Clare Smith and their best mate Cameron Brown, who used their Covid down time to plan the first day-festival of its kind in Bundaberg, working with suppliers and performers within the events industry, which has been all but decimated in the past 12 months.
Born in Bundaberg, Stephen completed a Bachelor of Music at CQUniversity in Mackay, then moved to Brisbane to become a professional musician and met Clare playing at a gig.
Stephen had a family supportive of his musical curiosity, in particular his late grandfather who was a well-known jazz musician in Bundaberg.
“In order to follow my dream of making a living from music after university, I had to move to Brisbane to give myself the best chance of success,” he said.
“I’ve always believed, though, in Bundy’s potential to sustain a vibrant entertainment industry, and DAYZFEST is our effort to show the rest of the country that it’s a viable option to host the type of events that are typically kept to the major cities.
“I’m particularly excited that we get to bring artists like the Stafford Brothers to DAYZFEST, who have had such great success on the world stage.
“Not only that, but we get to bring production value that will be world-class, and to top it off we get to give some incredible local talent the opportunity to do their thing on the very same stage; we honestly can’t wait.”
Music and the arts have been a huge part of Clare’s life since she was four years old.
She enjoyed a successful career as a singer before being diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer in 2018.
Once in remission she was no longer able to sing, so refocused her career to become a successful touring DJ.
“The journey since my diagnosis has been tough,” Clare said.
“Going through so many changes has made me gravitate even more to the thing in my life that makes me feel most safe, which is music and performing.
“It’s always been a release, and that one stable thing in my life, and I need that now more than ever!
“I’ve been very lucky to have had a handful of people in my corner who have come into my life at the right time and believed in me enough to give me opportunities to do my thing and keep pushing forward on this new path.
“This is what I’m most excited about with DAYZFEST, to be able to offer such a huge opportunity to some of the local artists.
“I’m very eager to see how a platform like this can help shape their careers, and for them to get the recognition their talent deserves.”
For Cameron, as the booking agent with Australian venues and events, he finds it a huge deal to see confidence in the industry slowly returning.
“I believe it will take higher profile events to continue to lead the way to demonstrate that events can once again be delivered safely and effectively,” he said.
“DAYZFEST is our effort to take a lead, and it really does mean the world to be able to bring it to the Wide Bay region.
“It’s an area of incredible beauty and wonderfully enthusiastic people, and for that reason it’s a no-brainer.”
As well as aiming to raise the region’s profile, the three friends have endeavoured to use local suppliers where possible.
“An event of this size has a lot of moving parts, which means opportunities for many local businesses and individuals on and around event day.”
DAYZFEST will be hosted at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct. Tickets are available from www.ticketbooth.com.au.