Farmer wants a festival

There’s one call festival director, farmer and (not that he’d admit it) tall dark handsome chap Mark Foletta can rely on each year, and that’s the one asking him if he’s ready to be on TV show Farmer wants a wife. (So far, no dice.)

A festival, however, is something he’s prepared to commit to. And one of the major reasons for having Happy Wanderer Festival, is to share the beautiful farm he grew up on and his own adjoining property.

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A race for ducks

Every year at Happy Wanderer, there’s a duck race down the river, where wanderers cheer on their plastic pals, dogs attempt to steal them and one duck is pronounced winner, then a band wades in and plays in the river. It’s wonderful. And strange.

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The other directors sure thought it was strange when Mark Foletta, resident farmer and rubber duckie wrangler pitched it. He got the idea from a friend who mentioned they used to have leaf and stick race down the river. “I thought we could race rubber duckies, so it's a bit easier to determine a winner. The festival falls on Melbourne Cup weekend so it could be called the Melbourne Duck. I still remember the boys were like, ‘Duck race? What are you on about?’”

“Anyway, it ended up being a real highlight.” Wanderers are also attached to their ducks. One year Trevor, a classic yellow rubber duck was retired. When it came to auctioning the ducks for the race, the crowd weren’t pleased. “There was someone in the crowd, that actually was heckling me, going, ‘Where's Trevor?’”, says Mark.

Mark with Trevor.

Mark with Trevor.

Out of a field of 26 ducks, one little pink duck has managed to win the race two years running. The ducks were named five years ago when the directors were a little bit more rambunctious, so this fast little pink duck is inexplicably named G-string. For reasons unknown, it’s won two years running and came in at least top-five every year.

2015 winner G-string with owner Zoltan. Image: Brendan Tonkin. 

2015 winner G-string with owner Zoltan. Image: Brendan Tonkin. 

The duck auction helps raise funds to keep the festival running – the directors and organising committee are all volunteers, and the directors help fund the festival.

So there you go.

Happy Wanderer 5 incredible lineup

Today's the day! We're announcing our Happy Wanderer 5 line-up and without getting too emotional about it - gosh wow what an... honour. Ok we said it. Thank you to each and every band that applied. We wish that time were not so stubbornly finite. 

Here's a list of the wonderful humans who will be playing Happy Wanderer this year - click the links, bathe in the awesomeness like we have been for the past few months. 

Get your tickets, because this one's going to be a dead-set doozy! 

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Looking back on five years of wandering

“When we were kids, my sister and I were rifling through a drawer and found some old photo albums. One had pictures of what appeared to be a festival. We asked Dad about it and he said, ‘Oh, well, back in the day, we used to hold the Yin Barun Beer and Wine Festival,’” explains Mark Foletta, sustainable farmer, winemaker and forager. “It had music, and a big tent and everyone swam in the river. There was even a slippery log contest, where you had to walk across the log and try not to fall in. It was always a childhood dream of mine and Sally’s: ‘Oh, one day we'd love to get that up and going again.’ Then life gets in the way...”

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First artist announcement for Happy Wanderer 5!

With over 160 applications from talented musical folk, it's been tough but awesome whittling them down into a line-up that will get you swaying, reminiscing, dancing and jumping. There's so much fantastic talent in this country and we encourage you to get out and see as much of it as you can.

Each year we've had a collection of outstanding up-and-coming and established artists across genres, and 2017 will be no different. We are very excited to share our first artist announcement with you. Get your ears around this!

Adam McGrath (roots/rock)

Echo Drama (dub, reggae, hip hop)

Good Stuff DJs (Zol Balint and Claire Lefèbvre)

Hollie Joyce (garage rock)

Immigrant Union (psychedelic folk/country)

Liv Cartledge (singer songwriter)

Mandy Connell (folk)

Rat Child (jazz, neo-soul, blues)

Super Magic Hats (electronic)

The Woodland Hunters (roots/rock)

Whiskey Dram (heavy folk rock)


Let us know what you think on Facebook or Instagram. We'll be announcing another round of artists soon.

Tickets have been selling quickly and early this year - we're up to our second round of early bird tickets and they're on sale at $140+bf until 31 July or sold out. These rounds have been selling out super early, so get in quick! Full-price tickets will be $180+bf.

Early bird catches the worm

Happy Wanderer artist applications have now closed and we've been spending our time listening to some rad tunes from over 150 bands that applied to play at Happy Wanderer 5.

We’re stoked! There's sure to be some passionate discussion but however it shakes out, it’s going to be an EPIC line up come 3-6 November.
We don’t want our Wanderers to miss out on tickets once the line up is announced so, we've released our Early Bird tickets a little early (like even earlier than the bird).

Early Bird Tickets are just $120 + bf (full price is $180, so, bargain!). Tickets include three days and three nights of music, most activities and camping.

In addition to an epic line up of music, we’ll have our beautiful morning yoga, heaps of ace workshops (some free, others a small fee), rad food trucks keeping us nourished and our ever-faithful chai tent.

Early Bird round 1 tickets are on sale until 30 June, or sold out.

Meanwhile, the cows are having a lovely time on the festival site.

Map your Happy Wanderer 3 journey

Wanderers the glorious Happy Wanderer 3 is almost upon us! Yeeewwwww!

We are currently in build mode, transforming the paddock into a festival playground with the one and only Truck Stage set against a canopy of outstretched red gums and the meandering Broken River.

Plot your festival discoveries with the Happy Wanderer 3 Program and Site Map. There's incredible music from the likes of Jess Ribeiro, Archer, The Eastern and Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel, yoga, workshops and art, and plenty of twists and bends to keep you wandering.