Festival headliner Dale Hooper performs.
Festival headliner Dale Hooper performs. Matthew Purcell

'The Man in Black' back in town

MONTHS of hard slogging and preparation have left organisers of the Johnny Cash Country Music Festival in a bit of a daze, but thrilled by Saturday's concert response.

Close to 600 people poured into the Stanthorpe Showgrounds, with crowds already baying for the 2018 event to get under way.

With a day's rest behind them, organisers of the event said they have been overwhelmed by the positivity after the festival's conclusion.

"The comments we've got, during and after the show, people just loved it,” Brian Wilmott said.

"Obviously some hiccups being the first time out but they loved the last two bands, particularly Dale Hooper.

"I had a word with him after and he certainly wants to come back next year.”

Away from the main stage, markets and good ol' southern cooking was offered up to punters.

"The dance floor was occupied most of the time, lots of good food sold, people were happy with the catering,” Brian said.

He suggests they may shorten set times next year to not make the "structure too long”.

"All in all... it was at least as good as I hoped for and better in fact because I was agonising right up until the last minute.”

Organisers will congregate in a week's time to discuss the event and how to tackle 2018.

At this stage all they know is that it'll definitely go ahead and that they'll hold it at the showgrounds once again.

As to whether it'll shift to a two-day festival or remain one and which acts they'll try to attract - that's still up for debate.

"As these things grow we'd be thinking two days, three days after that probably. Just grow it so Stanthorpe can look forward to having several thousand people coming and having a good time,” Brian said.

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