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Panama shapes up

TAKING IT EASY: Golconda festival organisers Tim Carroll and Dan Rooke contemplate this year’s A Festival Called PANAMA. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER
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A FESTIVAL Called PANAMA boasts a carefully curated program of music, activities, and thought provoking presentations.

Set on an idyllic parcel of land, backing onto a ridge which the Panama Forest covers, the festival is a boutique affair.

This year will mark the third festival, and while capacity has slowly increased yearly, the festival has capped capacity at 1250 patrons.

Word spread about the festival’s unique atmosphere, and it sold out on Thursday.

The queues and crowds that could taint a festival experience wouldn’t be an issue here.

The site doesn’t have mobile phone reception and the event is zero-waste, ensuring no trace of the festival is left on the site.

The team behind the festival believe the lack of social media makes for a better interpersonal experience, with attendees able to focus on the festival rather than their phones.

Co-founder and artistic director Tim Carroll said by keeping the event free of overcrowding and queues, “we’re trying to deliver the best possible experience to the patrons and the artists”.

Mr Carroll and fellow festival director Dan Rooke spend much of the year planning the year, with progressively more team members joining the team a few months before the festival.

This year, 150 crew members will staff the festival.

Mr Carroll said the organisers are particularly proud of the diverse talent they’ve attracted this year.

Nigerian band leader Seun Kuti will headline the festival, performing with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80.

Mr Carroll said they are a “cult Afrobeat band from Nigeria that are coming in for it, and it’s their only show in Tassie . . . we’ve been really lucky to pick them up”.

In the past, the festival has attracted artists on the verge of huge success. Courtney Barnett headlined last year, before her meteoric rise to fame and a Grammy nomination.

Mr Carroll said the directors “always wanted to have an element of storytelling or spoken word at the event”.

This year, renowned journalist and podcast contributor and radio journalist Scott Carrier will make thought provoking presentations.

Mr Carrier, from Salt Lake City in the US, has contributed to hugely successful podcast series This American Life.

He also produced his own podcast series, Home of the Brave, as well as authoring books.

“He has a really interesting journalist’s storytelling sort of approach,” Mr Carroll said.

Vendors will purvey a rich range of quality Tasmanian produce to fuel festival-goers.

Curators have carefully crafted a selection of stalls that will have something for every hungry patron.

Laksa Kid will travel from Hobart for the event, and Launceston favourite Wanderlust will tote their distinctive pink van along.

Tempura mushrooms, wood-fired pizza and crepes will also be available.

The beverage selection will also be just as diverse, featuring Tassie favourites including Morrison Brewery beers, Devil’s Corner wines and Tasmanian whiskies. The site has a brewing licence, and traditional apple cider made on site will be available.

The festival has slowly increased capacity – in its first year 620 tickets were available, and in its second it sold out at 1000.

Although capacity was creeping up and the festival and its beautiful setting and relaxed philosophy became well known, Mr Carroll said it was imperative the experience remained low-key and enjoyable.

“The scale of it is really intimate, so the experience of watching bands or doing drinks or chatting with other patrons – it’s never crowded,” Mr Carroll said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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