So Frenchy, So Chic. Let Them Eat Cake. Harvest (R.I.P.). To this list we can now add I’m New Here, a brand new festival making use of the Werribee Precinct’s ability to surprise festival goers with its unique range of venues.
Shadowfax Wines - nestled beside Werribee’s mansion and its open range zoo - will house the festival, which the winery's general manager Phil Strachan is sure will make a great first impression.
“It’s really a celebration of everything we do well – food, wine and live music,” Strachan says.
“A celebration” might be an understatement. Firstly, the ticket price includes all your food for the day. Yes, you read that right. Shadowfax head chef Ben D’Arcy (previously of The Stokehouse) is putting together a gourmet picnic to showcase some of the area’s best local produce, with many ingredients sourced from Shadowfax’s own kitchen garden. Strachan describes it as a long, lazy lunch hand-delivered to your picnic rug throughout the afternoon.
As with food, so it goes with the music. While many festivals still rely on a big international headliner, I’m New Here has put the emphasis squarely on local talent, with help from the team behind Paradise Music. The Harpoons, Ngaiire and LANKS will feature with Animaux, Passerine and Femi, alongside the man who’s done more to bring soul to Melbourne than any other, PBS DJ Vince Peach.
Will Cuming, the singer-songwriter and producer behind LANKS, says the venue, with the festival grounds right beside the vineyard, is a big part of I'm New Here's appeal.
“When you're playing in a really beautiful location it's really inspiring and a really different experience,” Cuming says, “The line-up is pretty incredible too, I haven't seen Ngaiire's live show before and I love The Harpoons … There's so much strong talent coming out of Melbourne, which is really amazing.”
Cuming says this kind of boutique experience is what festivalgoers are increasingly looking for. “A few years ago the food was just an afterthought, but not now with the culture that Melbourne has.”
For Strachan, the best thing about having a set menu is that the festival can be confident the food will match perfectly with the star of the day – the new vintage. Shadowfax's winemakers will be uncorking this year’s pinot noir and chardonnay for the occasion, and festivalgoers will be privy to the first taste.
“It’s a festival to celebrate the vintage,” Strachan says, “It’ll be a really great occasion for people to try those new wines.”
I’m New Here will run on Sunday March 22. For more information and to purchase tickets, head to the Shadowfax Wines website.