Day Dance brings groovers back to McLaren Vale for the June long weekend

Day Dance brings groovers back to McLaren Vale for the June long weekend

With the hiatus of Sea and Vines since 2019, Day Dance provides a whole new festival model to bring the party back to the vineyards for the Queen’s birthday. (Image source: Day Dance)

By Lara Pacillo | @LaraPacillo

Festivals are slowly but surely making their return to SA, and Day Dance is providing the perfect excuse to groove about it.

McLaren Vale’s new June long weekend wine tour is bringing party people back to the vineyards with a collaboration between Simon Hackett Winery and Woodstock Winery.

The event is split across two wine tours featuring live music sets, DJ parties, regional wine and beer, and a range of food options.

Event manager and mind behind Day Dance, Tim Klaosen, says the event, which has run for the last four years in March, started out as a much smaller concept.

“The goal originally was to bring a house party vibe to a winery,” Tim says.

“Tickets were just $30, and it was super laid back.”

But with Sea and Vines on hiatus since 2019, Tim saw the opportunity to expand.

With a now vacant June long weekend and a new event concept in mind, he made his move to fill the gap.

Organisers of the annual McLaren Vale Sea and Vines festival decided to shut down the popular event after 27 years due to negative social media coverage.

Videos and photos of isolated incidents featuring attendees behaving antisocially went viral in the event’s recent years, contributing to the reputational risk of the McLaren Vale brand.

Tim says he has had great experiences at Sea and Vines over the years and the social media coverage was an unfair reflection of the event.

“I personally don’t think the negative press was justified,” he says.

“I think people and the media love to run with one photo of someone publicly urinating and paint the whole event with the same brush.”

Tim says Day Dance is a whole different model, however.

Unlike Sea and Vines, a portion of the Day Dance ticket sales goes directly to the wineries, meaning these venues can justify the costs of ample marquees, more heating and more bathrooms.

He says it was always an issue that Sea and Vines did not pass money from tickets onto the wineries as these venues therefore could not justify these extra expenses.

“Day Dance is also targeted at an older crowd,” he says.

“There’s a big live music focus, with SA Music Award winners playing at each winery.

“There are no pubs involved meaning there is no ‘middle-man’ taking a cut, so tickets can be $20 cheaper than Sea and Vines.

“It also means people aren’t stumbling into the winery after too many drinks at the pub in the morning.”

The Day Dance festival will have a “zero tolerance” for antisocial behaviour.

“The goal is to make this a dickhead free event,” Tim says.

“The vision is to grab a bottle of wine, sit around a table with some friends and foot tap along to three hours of live music during the ‘day’ session; then get up and wiggle them hips for the ‘dance’ session.”

The day session of live music will feature hometown acts Timberwolf, WANDERERS, Tom West, Georgia Germein, Ollie English, and A.P D’Antonio.

The dance session includes an 80s versus 90s party at Woodstock, and a 2000s versus 2010s party at Simon Hackett, depending which tour attendees have selected.

Each winery will serve its own specialty wines and vale ale beer.

Attendees will be well fed with food offerings of paella, Neapolitan style pizza, Zambreros, Staazi & Co, and Chimichurri Grill.

While grooving is a go, Tim says it’s not without adjustments to suit the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

“Even though both wineries have more than 3000 square metres of outdoor space, I’m forced to cap numbers to 1000 people to allow dancing,” he says.

“Financially, this obviously makes it a lot harder to operate but hopefully it’s a cracker day and it can expand in 2022 unrestricted.”

The festivities will continue onto the Monday Queen’s Birthday public holiday with a Pizza and Pups Picnic event at Simon Hackett Winery filled with dogs, live music, pizza, wine and picnics.

Tim says this is to help cover the costs of the Day Dance event and make use of the infrastructure for the full long weekend.

“I run a dog friendly festival in November called Folkloria and love it, so when I needed a new event, it was a no brainer for me to make it a dog event.”

As a small part owner of Simon Hackett Winery and with hopes to expand the event across four wineries in 2022, Tim has big plans for Day Dance in the future.

“My goal is to work with all the other amazing wineries in the area to make this one big McLaren Vale party,” he says.

“Hopefully this exposes a lot of younger people to the region who might not have realised how accessible McLaren Vale really is.”

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