After 13 years of amazing music in the best natural amphitheatre, the Crooked Mountain Concert has drawn to a close, with no event scheduled for 2017.
The annual concert, held in the Warrumbungle National Park, has been discontinued following poor attendance in recent years.
National Parks and Wildlife Service director of northern inland branch, Rob Smith, said the final decision had been made during the past month, although it was an option organisers had been considering for some time.
“Each year, after the concert, we conduct a review of the concert, its performance and things we can improve on - as part of that, we’re quite aware that numbers have dropped off.
“I think there is an increasingly competitive events’ space around that kind of music festival-type event, whether its “A Day on the Green” or other events that are being held regionally.
“Those things were really triggers for us to look carefully at whether we were best placed to continue to run a concert.”
The first Crooked Mountain Concert was staged as a one-off event in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Warrumbungle National Park.
However, Mr Smith said it was quite successful and opened the door for future concerts.
“The intention has always been to showcase the park and its values, and to get people who wouldn’t typically go to the park, to visit,” he said.
“In that, we’ve done really well, just by the sheer number of people that have attended the concert.
“It has gone up and down a bit over the years, but generally the attendance was pretty strong, apart from the last couple of years where we have seen a decline.”
With the new Warrumbungle Visitor Centre under construction and the recent Dark Sky Park declaration, things will not be slowing down for National Parks’ staff.
Mr Smith said there would be other opportunities to expand and develop visitor experiences.
“Staff have had a lot of investment in the development of the concert - some staff members have been there since the start and have watched the event grow.
“The work they’ve done and the contribution they’ve made has been fundamental to the success of the concert.
“It is such a massive task - six months in the making - and each year we got better at it, and it’s nearly all gone off without a hitch to be honest.
“We’ve been really fortunate the weather has been accommodating during the past 13 years - we’ve had inclement weather, but we’ve never been washed out.”
End of an era
The Crooked Mountain Concert has hosted a number of iconic artists during its time, including Adam Brand, Boom Crash Opera, Kate Cebrano, Ian Moss and Diesel.
“We’ve always tried to have a headline act, but we’ve also aimed to support up-and-coming acts and local acts as well,” Mr Smith said.
“I’m sure there will be people who were regular attendees to the concert that will be disappointed with the decision, but I’m sure there’s new opportunities we can offer.”
National Parks and Wildlife Service have chosen to discontinue the Crooked Mountain Concert, which had been held annually in the Warrumbungle National Park since 2003. Photo courtesy - NPWS.