A freelance writer living in suburban Adelaide, taking his first tentative steps. You can see some of his past work at bernhardsayer.wordpress.com
Dog lovers unite for a day of fur, food and fantastic music
Adelaide's most unique and enjoyable day for fur children and their humans, Dogapalooza, is back for 2019.
Cal Williams is a busy man. Alongside being the founder of Adelaide's Guitar Academy school and being recognised as one of this city's most respected and accomplished guitar players, he's also an animal lover – one who co-directs Dogapalooza each year with his friend, Renae.
And now, having run the event for six years running, they can truly say that they are organising an event that thinks of everything for lovers of the wagging tail. Cal and Renae are justifiably proud of the fact that it was Australia's first dog music festival, with the event (entirely volunteer-run) donating all takings to local animal rescue charities.
Held in Millswood's Orphanage Park, the festival kicks off at 10.30 on Sunday the 17th of March (with music starting at 11) and wags its way through to 3 o'clock that afternoon. Orphanage Park has loads of shade, but Cal and Renae also ensure that a few extra umbrellas around the park will provide additional shade options for attendees.
Shade is plentiful (photo by Ben Liew of Fluff & Stuff Photography)
Cal tells me that the event is a thrill for the musicians who play on the day. 'It's unique for the musicians - people just chill out on the lawn with a blanket and watch their dogs running around.' We never have drums or loud instruments. Being outside, the music is acoustic, we keep a close ear on the volume, so it's not a problem for the dogs.'
Musicians playing at this year's festival include Emily Davis (whose recent You Me and the Velvet Sea album is a huge personal favourite of this writer), Aidan Jazzy Jones, the beautiful voice of Jen Lush with Steve Lennox, Banjo Jackson, Toby Brandenburg and Mary Webb.
Around the music, a number of dog handlers will undertake demonstrations, with other attractions present too, such as animal charity stalls, henna artists, dog reiki, dog massage and a dog wash (which will help keep the pooches cool if it's warm!). There will be a vegan BBQ to raise funds for SA Dog Rescue, with the attending food stalls also donating their stallholder fee to an attending charity at the event too. There will be a coffee van, and vegan food truck favourites Mr Twister and the Cake Liberation Front, among others.
Having raised over $50,000 for local animal charities from past events, Cal tells me that 'all the money raised goes directly to charity – no-one gets paid. The musicians are donating their talent, which is amazing. We're aiming to support those local rescues that don't have a big budget.'
For dogs and humans alike! (photo by Ben Liew of Fluff & Stuff Photography)
And an extra attraction is the opportunity for your pooch to win the competition to be the poster dog for the 2020 event! Cal emphasises that people who don't have a dog in their lives are most welcome, as are non-vegans. 'We don't preach the vegan thing. We find a lot of people try things out that they haven't tried before and wouldn't ordinarily have. The food is amazing.'
When I ask him how the event started, he tells me 'I was in the UK for about six years, and I had the idea of doing a fundraiser gig for a local dog rescue charity. So, I ran that event and when I came back to Australia, I met Renae and I mentioned the idea and she was impressed – she's a volunteer with SA Dog Rescue, Oscar's Law and Wombat Awareness Organisation – and she said 'great, we should run it – let's take the gig out of the pub and into the sun so everyone can bring their dog!' The first was at Howl at the Moon about six years ago, and it went really well. So, the next year we had to book another place and Renae and I found Orphanage Park. It was a baptism of fire really – it's a lot harder to run your own event from scratch. But now we've got a bit of a flow and we know what we're doing.
'The Oscar's Law team from Melbourne came along to see it and they now run it there, and there's also now someone in Brisbane and someone in Perth interested, so it's really branching out. Melbourne is the big one - the people who run it over there run an events agency and have a big network and population. They loved the Adelaide one, the warm atmosphere, the beautiful park and natural amphitheatre. It's a very special day.'
A day of quality music (photo by Ben Liew of Fluff & Stuff Photography)
So, just bring your dog (Cal will be bringing Huckleberry, his Maltese cross beagle), a blanket, some chairs, a hat, and your ears! (BYO alcohol.) An all-ages Fringe event, you can pre-purchase your tickets for $18 (concession $16), or pay $20 at the gate. Kids 12 and under are by cash donation at the gate, and dogs – as you'd expect - are FREE!
It is a condition of entry that dogs remain on leash in the event area for the duration of the event - if your furkid needs to get some zoomies out of their system, there are off-leash ovals to either side of the event area.