The idea for a gay and lesbian event held in Daylesford over the Labour Day long weekend in March is first proposed at a meeting of the Springs Connections committee.
With less that two months to prepare, a small but enthusiastic team organises the first ever ChillOut festival. Taking place over one day at The Olde Winery in Musk Vale, the first event attracts around 100 people and, despite the freezing weather, is a great success.
ChillOut moves to Victoria Park, Daylesford. The Daylesford Council agrees to let the organisers use the park free of charge and include the event under the council’s existing public liability and indemnity insurance. Joy FM broadcast live from ChillOut for the first time this year, and organisers notice a bigger Melbourne presence than the previous year. Springs Connection tshirts are provided for volunteers to clearly identify them amongst the colourful crowd.
The festival is held over two days for the first time. A dance party is organised at the Palais and a Carnival Day takes place on Sunday.
A cow is adopted as the motif for the festival, and an illustration of a cow in high heels appears for the first time this year.
The ChillOut committee commissions the construction of a costumed cow’s head to take and wear to Pride March. The street parade is introduced, taking place on the morning of the Carnival Day, Sunday. This first year the parade is so small it tours Vincent Street several times. A number of different events were added and the festival extends across the four days of the Labour Day weekend for the first time this year. As well as the parade, these events include; a race day in nearby Kyneton, a golf tournament, bushwalking and drag shows.
The Dance Party and Street Parade events get their own themes, separate to that of the general festival. ‘Psychedelic’ is the first theme. This year, ChillOut festival receives the Community Event: Pride Award.
ChillOut Daylesford becomes an incorporated not-for-profit organisation. From this year onwards, the Springs Connections reference was dropped and ChillOut becomes the logo on the shirts.
ChillOut festival records close to 22,000 attendees, generating just over $5 million in revenue for the local community.
The theme this year is Carry on Camping. The festival had performances from BABBA, Adam Elliot and Paul Capsis and was another well attended festival.
ChillOut festival celebrates 10 years of operation. This celebratory year includes a opening party Friday night, a range of activities Saturday including a golf tournament, horse riding and bushwalking; a cabaret party Saturday night; parade and Carnival Day Sunday, Dance Party Sunday night and a recovery brunch on Monday.
After the success of the 10 ChillOut the committee are exhausted and some members step away. Preparations for the 2007 ChillOut festival start late in the year with a committee that is not at full capacity. When the call for volunteers fails to attract enough people, the committee realises they were not going to be able to make it happened and with heavy hearts, ChillOut 2007 is cancelled. As well as disappointing many fans of the festival, the economic loss to the Daylesford Hepburn region is significant.
After the cancellation of the year before, the ChillOut committee of management are keen to make 2008 a success. However, well aware of the festival’s total reliance on voluntary commitment, the committee introduces some paid positions to ensure future viability and help alleviate burn out. Committee member Jim Culbertson also manages to get a $75,0000 grant from Regional Development Victorian and Hepburn Council to go towards the 2008 festival.
This year is also the first year a specific fund raising event was introduced, the Worthy Cause Slowest Lunch as well as the introduction of the Bush Dance at the Palais in Hepburn. With over 25,000 attendees and more than $8 million worth of direct economic benefit to the Hepburn Shire, it is a wildly successful year.
Once again the festival is threatened but this time from bushfires. However, the committee cautiously carries on and the festival goes ahead raising $25,000 for the Worthy Cause, donating funds to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Hepburn Wildlife Shelter and the local CFA.
This is the first year the festival does not need to hire generators to power stalls and the stage, because the Hepburn Shire commissions the installation of power poles and shade structures at Victoria Park.
ChillOut gets a permanent storage shed at Victoria Park. The always popular Bush Dance moves from the Palais in Hepburn to the Daylesford Town Hall, after the Palais is forced to close its doors, much to the disappointment of the local community.
ChillOut festival establishes a permanent office in Daylesford.
Carnival Day sees an impressive 7,500 attendees, up by more than 2,000 from the previous year. The ‘Back to the Future’ themed Parade is a highlight of the day.
At ChillOut this year, the iconic Dolly Diamond celebrates her tenth year as the Carnival Day host. The ChillOut and Daylesford community is saddened to lose a long time volunteer and supporter of ChillOut, Roz Moynihan. The Worthy Cause is renamed the Roz Moynihan Worthy Cause in her honour.
During a campaign which attracts over 20,000 votes, Daylesford is the winner of the ANZ ‘The only GAYTM in the Village’ competition. The GAYTM is installed just prior to ChillOut festival 2015 and remains in Daylesford for two weeks with all ATM fees sent towards the redevelopment of the Victoria Park Hub.
Merryn Tinkler takes on the role of ChillOut Festival Director and helps to deliver an action packed program.
ChillOut festival celebrates its 20 birthday this year with an exhibition showcasing the past 20 years of the festival. The Victorian State Government announces a grant of $150,000 over three years to support the ongoing success of the festival.
For its 21st birthday ChillOut festival celebrates Australia recognising marriage equality by hosting one lucky couple’s marriage on the main stage during the festival.