28 April, 3 pm: The Falling Leaf Festival in Tumut has been cancelled, although organisers have confirmed that the Comedy Gala on Friday night will proceed as planned.
Late this afternoon, organisers made the announcement due to predicted inclement weather on Friday and Saturday.
“We know this is really disappointing for the community and visitors, and after 12 months of hard work by dedicated volunteers, this is pretty heartbreaking. Ticket holders will receive a refund in the coming days,” President Michael Cichocki said.
“Unfortunately, it will be impossible for us to run our live music, workshops, displays and market stalls if the predicted rain eventuates, access in and out of the Park could become problematic and we have our patrons’ safety and comfort in mind.
“We would really like to thank the community, especially our sponsors and local businesses for their support, and we hope that we can count on them in coming year.”
The committee are already talking to Hussy Hicks and Timothy James Bowen about coming back soon for a show.
The Falling Leaf Comedy Gala is going ahead as planned on Friday, 29 April at Montreal Community Theatre, featuring Dane Simpson, Mike Goldstein, Luka Mulla, Bonnie Tangey and Emo Parsonson. Tickets are available at www.fallingleaffestival.com.au
27 April, 12 pm: Autumn is a beautiful time of year. Chilly mornings followed by blue sky days and gorgeous red and gold leaves falling in the garden. It’s especially delightful in the town of Tumut, which has celebrated the season for many years with its annual Falling Leaf Festival.
Festival chairperson Michael Cichoki explained the festival started “sometime around the 50s and it’s gone through different iterations on and off since then”.
“I think it might have been a school principal who just wanted to do something to show off Tumut at that time of year because we’re so lucky to have those Autumn colours,” he told Region Media.
Previous festivals have included parades, fireworks, and parties. This year, the tradition continues with a multi-day event designed to showcase the best of everything on offer in and around Tumut.
A new event for the festival is the Comedy Gala which will kick off festivities on Friday night at the historic Montreal Community Theatre. The Gala will feature comedians from around the country and Wagga Wagga local and Gamilaraay man Dane Simpson, who will also act as emcee for the festival stage on Saturday.
A smoking ceremony and acknowledgement of Country will begin Saturday’s festivities. Bila Park down by the Tumut River will be full of market stalls run by local makers and plenty of food and drink vendors from around the region.
“This year, we’re really trying to highlight that festival aspect, keeping some of that tradition and showcasing artisan handmade products,” said Mr Cichoki.
The main stage will feature local musicians throughout the day, including performers from the local school who will have their first shot at playing to a festival crowd. Talent from all over the Snowys and Riverina regions are lined up to play throughout the day, and critically acclaimed Lismore band Hussy Hicks will be the high energy headline act.
“The Festival is fast becoming an event that performers want to be at, and singer-songwriters see it as a great platform for their careers. Having Hussy Hicks as our headliners this year is a real coup,” Mr Cichoki said.
“We also take our goal of supporting local emerging talent really seriously and this year is no exception.”
The festival will be a family-friendly affair with plenty to entertain the young (and young at heart). A giant game of ‘Guess Who?’ will be set up along with carnival rides and interactive games. There will also be a performance from local Tumut act Circus McCabe, who will also have roving entertainment throughout the day with fire twirlers and stilt walkers.
Gates open at 11:30 am and the event will be wrapped up by 8 pm, making it an easy day trip from Canberra, or visitors are encouraged to stay the night and explore more of what the region has to offer.
Tickets for the Comedy Gala are available through the Falling Leaf Festival website. Recommended age for the comedy gala is 15-plus. Tickets for the market and main stage in Bila Park on Saturday are also available on the website or at the gate. Saturday’s event is family-friendly and all ages are welcome.