March 30th, 2023‘Awesome’ ChillOut 2023, now on to 2024
CHILLOUT 2023 may be over but festival director Emma Ireland is already looking at headline acts for next year.
She is also busy catching up with people and asking how the weekend was for them, something she loves doing.
This year, she says, was exactly how ChillOut should be every year.
“The intention was that everybody in the community created the overall festival
and by that I mean it wasn’t just myself and the committee putting on certain events
– everywhere you went felt like a mini ChillOut.
“All of the venues across Daylesford, Hepburn and surrounds just felt like
ChillOut and it was absolutely superb in that sense of connection with community.”
Emma said while some people had been wary during the pandemic with what
they could and could not do, this year many people who were on the sidelines last
year decided to step forward “and say ‘this is awesome, let’s do this’.
“A lot of people are already involved in ChillOut but there are a lot of new people
with new venues and properties who got fully involved this year and that made a
really big difference – everybody carried the festival.
“Even venues which had sat previously in the background realised it was up to
them. I worked really hard coming out of the pandemic to engage with community
to get involved putting on events in their spaces but this year everybody put their
own events on in their own spaces.
“And that is how ChillOut really works, when everybody gets involved. It was
fantastic because there was so much variety for people of all ages and all those events
really complemented the events we put on. People just had so many choices and no-
one was waiting to do something, there was enough for everyone.”
Emma said about 32,000 people attended the weekend, based on accommodation
bookings with even more people coming along as daytrippers on the Sunday for the
parade and Carnivale at Victoria Park.
“We know that accommodation for Daylesford and the rest of the region was full
so ChillOut was definitely bigger than last year but being spread across the village
made it less like a pressure cooker.
“It was also great having both the Daylesford Town Hall and Vic Park activated
for the main events, and then there were the Palais-Hepburn and the Daylesford
Hotel – there was just so much going on.”
Emma said the feedback on the Big Rainbow, which arrived at Victoria Park just
in time for celebrations, had been fantastic.
“Haters are going to hate, but we have a really strong voice in the community
and the feedback was really good. A lot of people loved that it was smaller than they
thought and much more glittery.
“It was prettier than I thought it might be too, and it just looks lovely and
complements what we do, and how cool to come to Daylesford and have your photo
by the Big Rainbow. It’s better than the Big Pineapple!”
Emma said with the weekend over the hard-working committee had pretty much
“gone to ground to hibernate”.
“We have only just finished taking down bunting but we are already working on
reports for the committee, the council and government and looking at headliners for
2024 as we move forward.
“The exciting thing is now having time to talk to people about how the weekend
was for them, those face-to-face mements with the community, I really love that bit.”
Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Nadine Jade