VANFEST 2019 coming back to Forbes for weekend of music

After a two year hiatus, the central west's biggest music festival is back for 2019.

VANFEST first started at Forbes in 2014 to great success and continued growing over the years. But in 2017 the second day of the event was washed out after severe weather prevented acts performing.

Then in 2018 the festival was cancelled following a series of recommendations presented to Forbes Council out of an auditors report that was prepared after the 2017 wash-out.

The cancellation also caused issues with refunds, but people who bought two-day tickets for VANFEST received 75 per cent of their money back after the second day of the music festival was washed out.

Director Matt Clifton, together with his father, started the festival with the aim of "bringing what you'd expect to see in the city to the country".

"It was a big thing.. I grew up out there (in the country) and we never had any of those opportunities it was always having to go to the city…," Matt said.

Despite the past hiccups, Matt said this year's event is off to a fantastic start.

"You can control a lot of things, but I can't control what comes out of the sky," he said. "You can only ever be as prepared as you can be and we've obviously learnt from the last five years and pout all of our learning together each year and make it better and bigger and safer."

Festival goers come from all over, Matt said, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and everywhere in between.

"Obviously there's quite a bit chunk of postcodes within the central west region, from Dubbo up to Tamworth, Armidale and all the way down to Albury," he said.

The VANFEST lineup was recently announced with PNAU, Golden Features, Methel Ethel, Thundamentals and more playing.

Matt, who is originally from Tullamore, said the lineup is always quite diverse, with a little bit of everything including Aussie hip-hop, electro, indie, rock and roll.

"It's not kind of targeted or niched towards one area or one music genre," he said.

"The lineup this year is probably one of our bigger ones whenever had, especially of Aussie artists."

The inaugural event in 2014 saw 4500 festival goers and last year approximately 12,000 people would have attended if the full two day event went ahead, Matt said.

"We don't really know what to expect at this point in time," he said of this year's festival attendance.

"We do hope we get to the high 10,000. It would be nice, see how we go."

Matt said they're just proud to be able to bring VANFEST back in 2019 especially after the state government's call for new license regulations at music festivals after the fatal overdoses of young people at festivals in NSW. 

"It was a little bit of unknown territory, especially with the government's legislation coming in and making it a little bit more difficult for some of the events around NSW," Matt said.

"Obviously there is a little bit more scrutiny and magnifying glass over a lot of fest at the moment when it comes to police and safety and what not."

Recently Premier Gladys Berejiklian's government released a list of 14 high risk festivals which will have to adhere to a new licensing scheme from March 1.

Matt said VANFEST don't fall into that list, but  but they are being managed a little more closely than in the past.

"Which is completely fine but (we're) just navigating that territory at the moment… but it will take a more than that to keep us down," he said.