Record crowds flock to Byron Bay Writers Festival
By RACHEL AFFLICK
THE key to enjoying any festival is having a good tree to sit under, according to Byron Bay Writers Festival-goer Heather Lipsett.
When Heather, of Canberra, and her daughter Julie, from Federal, took time out yesterday from the marquee events they found themselves an ideal tree under which to refuel and sneak in some celebrity spotting.
"We've already seen a few ABC identities. We're definitely keeping a lookout," Julie said.
"I just bought a book by Cate Kennedy to read. I'd never heard of her but she just spoke so passionately we thought straight away we had to have her book."
Julie, who recently moved to Federal from Canberra, visited the Byron Bay Writers Festival two years ago on a day pass. She loved it so much that this time around she bought a three-day pass, and invited her mother along for the ride.
Heather, a self described 'huge reader' was not disappointed by her first Writers Festival experience.
"I love reading and the speakers have been wonderful," she said.
"They're really human. Hearing Cate Kennedy, who went to Mexico to work I think as an aid worker, it really hit the spot."
Festival director Jeni Caffin said yesterday was the festival's biggest Friday ever, with about 2200 people through the gates. She described it as 'a festival director's dream'.
"I have never seen so many happy authors at the festival. They are just having a ball," Jeni said.
"It's perfect weather. There's a bit of a breeze here so the flags are just ruffling and it looks divine.
"Walking around I'm seeing people sitting around having coffee or a glass of wine so it's exactly what a writer's festival should look like."
The Byron Bay Writers Festival continues today and tomorrow at the Byron Beach Resort site.
Today is Kids' Day. Illustrators will show children how to tell stories through pictures and a group of Byron Bay kids will tell their own stories. 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival, up from 9000 in 2006.
Tickets are still available on site at the box office. For more information and a program visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au.