Angela Cance models a pair of gumboots while Maria Buzzolan looks on.
Angela Cance models a pair of gumboots while Maria Buzzolan looks on. Blainey Woodham

Gumboots on parade

RETAILERS are gearing up for the annual Byron Bay Blues Festival gumboot grab.

Every Easter Byron Bay retail stores and street stalls do a brisk trade in the humble rubber shoe to festival goers caught out by the normally wet and muddy conditions at this time of year.

Byron Bay Disposals Store orders in a "small truckload" of gumboots every Easter to cater for the big spike in demand, manager Dale Warburton said.

Mr Warburton said Byron Bay Blues Festival and the Splendour in the Grass festival were the store's busiest times of year, with ponchos and tents also doing a roaring trade.

He said you could buy a basic blue or black pair of gumboots for $25 to $35, while the patterned variants like leopard print, denim, rainbow and tartan retailed for around $40.

If you're paying any more than $50 for your gumboots you are a fashion victim, he warned.

At Easter, Essentially Byron owner Melanie Sainsbury sets up a pop-up store in the alley next to her Lawson St shop selling gumboots exclusively.

Ms Sainsbury said she had no choice because the demand could be so intense it crowded out other shoppers.

"I couldn't fit them in the shop. You had 15 women all trying to get gumboots on," she said.

Ms Sainsbury stocks plain varieties through to more glamorous Italian PVC designer numbers.

"You've got people here for five days and they don't care what they look like. But then you've got another group altogether where they've got to look good," she said.

Ms Sainsbury said while she sold gumboots all year round, there were many other retailers who stocked them once a year to cash in on the festival crowd.

A spokeswoman for the festival said it was an all-weather event and mud was much less of a problem at the new Tyagarah site than it used to be, but it was best to be prepared.

"I advise everyone to bring wet weather gear," she said.



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