The organisers of this year’s Augusta River Fest say there were blown away by the crowd response to their bigger-than-ever celebration of all things Augusta. Revived by tireless volunteers and community groups after a break because of COVID-19, the day-long March 5 festival saw crowds pour into the Augusta foreshore to enjoy a day and night of activities, many of them free, as well as music performances headlined by Australian legend Tex Perkins. Festival co-ordinator Carolyn Tenardi was earnest in her thanks to volunteers from all walks of life for making the festival come together with incredible energy. “This event is organised and managed by volunteers,” she said. “The budget sits at over $130,000, and funding towards this comes from grants and tickets sales. “So much is also contributed through local organisations because all the infrastructure that needs to be built on the foreshore to conduct the event — even our toilets are trucked in and fresh water for filters is supplied by local residents. “It’s a huge effort and we feel it pays off in the joy that it creates for town and those who visit us for this special weekend.” While changes including online ticketing were introduced this year, Ms Tenardi said it helped streamline and support the event. Crowd numbers were similar to past years, with a lantern parade replacing traditional fireworks. “Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Ms Tenardi said. “The aim was activation, engagement, education and enjoyment. “Our objective was to offer this without the need to constantly put hand in pocket once you entered the gate and we know the program delivered.” The Concrete Club’s Jacque Ashworth said the lantern parade and clinics were well-received by punters. “We launched our roving roller performers who dressed in LED wings and roller skates, who roved through the crowd during the event and also led the parade,” she said. “The Concrete Club ran a series of workshops over nine weeks with the Augusta and Karridale Schools, and two holiday days of workshops with the wider community of Augusta to make the lanterns that were showcased in the parade.” The club also ran clinics using skate ramps built by the young people in Margaret River and the Cowaramup Men’s Shed, and a dragon boarding race, where paddlers competed on extra-large stand-up paddleboards in teams of four. “We also ran roller skating workshops, and free screen-printing on T-shirts and tote bags,” Ms Ashworth said. Organisers thanked sponsors, community groups, volunteers and the varied musical acts who performed and local stakeholders including schools who got in on the action, offering an engaging program that ranged from skate and circus skills workshops through to paddle boarding, healthy refreshments and cultural insights from local custodians.