PORT Fairy Folk Festival has again been marked by packed-out performances and good-natured crowd behavior labeled by police as the best in a decade.
An estimated 25,000 people descended on the township during the long weekend for sold-out program events and a host of street concerts.
Festival president Bruce Leishman said 11,000 tickets had been snapped up in the final weeks leading up to the festival’s 38th year.
But changes are on the way — organisers are looking to add proper seating to all stages and reduce booking headaches.
“We’ve tried to seat a lot more of the venues with permanent seating. We’ll look at that in the next couple of weeks and go full seating if we can,” he said.
“One of the hassles we have at the moment is people trying to reserve their spots, particularly in stage three and stage one (the main stages).
We want our 40th to be squeaky clean.”
He acknowledged fewer big names in this year’s line-up, citing costs and problems in finding accommodation for the headliners.
“The bigger names now days are a cost factor. They are demanding more money,” Mr Leishman said.
“The artists themselves may not be available.
“We did try for Paul Kelly and Neil Finn but they had other things booked up.”
Mr Leishman also conceded fewer people had hit the town’s main street for the markets and music at Railway Place and the Village Green.
“I’ve heard that and the weather is a big part. If it gets really hot they’re going to go down the beach.”
One festivalgoer was happier than most about the weekend.
Port Fairy resident and Premier Denis Napthine walked through the festival yesterday afternoon.
Wearing a festival T-shirt and hat, Dr Napthine used the weekend to celebrate a year in the top job.
“It is a great to celebrate a year as pPremier of the state to come back home to Port Fairy and come to the best music festival in the world,” Dr Napthine said.
“It has a year-round effect but it all also acts as a trigger for the Spring Music weekend on the long weekend in June.”
Police were also pleased, saying crowd behaviour was the best in a decade.
“It’s been fantastic,” Sergeant Mick Wolfe of Port Fairy police said.
“There’s been a few penalty notices issued for alcohol, but there’s probably been six for behaviour offences involving alcohol.
“So far it’s the best I’ve worked at. This would be my tenth year.
“It took a while to turn it but I think people realised the nature and the character of the event.”
No drink-drivers were detected on Saturday night while nothing was reported stolen.
“There was nothing reported, which was amazing,” Sergeant Wolfe said.