Strawberry Fields Festival organisers are inviting members of the local community to attend a barbecue and tour of the festival site next Wednesday.
They will get a ‘‘behind the scenes’’ look at the Lower River Road festival grounds in Tocumwal, before the music and arts program officially starts the following day.
Guests will have the chance to meet SFF directors, who will lead a short tour and information session.
Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce & Tourism will provide a barbecue dinner, which will be available for a small donation.
Tocumwal Chamber president Sergio Redegalli said the pre-festival event is a chance to see the ‘‘fantastic, world class infrastructure’’ at the site.
‘‘People probably think the festival is just a few tents and stages, but the amount of professionalism put into the infrastructure is phenomenal,” he said.
‘‘For those who’ve not been there, you can’t imagine the size of it. You really need to see it to believe it.’’
Temporary infrastructure set up for the festival includes two main stages, the tea lounge and market area.
Strawberry Fields director Tara Benney said this year’s art program will showcase artists — both musical and visual — from all over the world, and sees the return of Melbourne creative outfit John Fish and the large scale geometric art of Dylan Blackstone.
‘‘We really want to give locals who may not want to attend the actual festival the chance to understand what it’s all about, and meet the people behind it, in a relaxed environment,’’ she said.
Mr Redegalli said the positive impacts the festival has on the community ‘‘cannot be ignored’’.
‘‘From a business perspective the festival is a massive opportunity for locals to put their foot in the door and access the 6000 attendees who wouldn’t otherwise see their goods,’’ he said.
‘‘And for the construction that happens for the event, a huge percentage of the materials are sourced locally.
‘‘There’s also the huge (internet) search engine ranking that Strawberry Fields gives Tocumwal; the hashtags on social media — that’s something we would never be able to afford with Google.
‘‘It’s a win:win for our community.’’
Those interested in attending the information session and tour are asked to meet at the festival site, about 10km west of Tocumwal, at 5.30pm on November 15. Gates close at 8pm.
For more information contact Sophie Burge on 0428381269 or Shaun Connor on 0488123270.