Alcoa’s Brian Doy has a long history with Fairbridge Festival – right from the very beginning, in fact. Brian had joined the board of Fairbridge W.A., with Alcoa’s support, to help find ways to make Fairbridge Village financially sustainable. In 1992, he met with Sally Grice, Max Klubal and Wendy Corrick and listened to their ideas about using the village as a venue for a folk festival. He immediately understood their vision and presented the idea to the Fairbridge W.A. board with the argument that it would attract new visitors to the village and provide a new income stream. Despite some reservations, the board approved the idea. Alcoa also agreed to become an inaugural sponsor and have sponsored the festival every year since.
Brian was on the original festival organising committee and he says he was amazed then—and is still amazed today—at the commitment of everyone involved. He says it is the commitment of all those people: the many volunteers; the musicians; the great musical direction from Steve Barnes, and now Rod Vervest; the leadership of people like Wendy Corrick (president for many years), that has made the Fairbridge Festival so successful. The musicians especially wanted to see it succeed and were prepared to support it through the lean years.
Brian says that his kids grew up with the festival: camping out and participating in the kids activities, workshops and parade (son Matthew lead the parade one year with the giant star he had made). They have attended all but three festivals – only missing out when Brian was transferred overseas with Alcoa and when an overseas holiday clashed with the festival dates. The overseas holiday was when their kids were older and daughters, Sophie and Sarah, and some other friends, created a ‘memory’ book with photos and comments so that they could still have the festival experience.
The Doy family have many fond memories: the old hessian showers, running around the back with a towel wrapped around them to restart the heat pump; watching people like John Butler blow everyone away in Guitar Heaven; the gospel sing-along in the Chapel; Friday nights on the dance stage; evenings at Ruby’s; jam sessions in Gus’s Bar.
Brian’s favourite aspect of the festival is the family-friendly environment. He says it is great to see young people encouraged to take part with such a great kids program. Seeing people become so inspired by the festival that they go on to forge their own musical careers; watching the festival grow; and enjoying such a variety of artists are also high on the favourite aspects list.
Brian says the festival has become a tradition for his family and friends. They camp every year, and every year find a new talent they would never have seen if it wasn’t for Fairbridge Festival. He says he is in awe of the people who have made the festival what it is today. Their vision, commitment and sheer hard work over 25 years has resulted in Western Australia’s best family-friendly music festival.