No empty rooms as festival popularity starts running away

Running on Empty Festival organisers John de Bruin and Ben Hewlett.

Organisers of the Running on Empty festival in October are very quickly running out of accommodation options due to the huge amount of interest shown in the event.

Festival organisers Ben Hewlett and John de Bruin gave Cobar Shire councillors an update of the Running on Empty festival plans at last week’s council meeting.

“Thirteen months ago I spoke to council about the RSL Sub Branch’s idea of building a World War I memorial,” Ben told councillors.

Ben said he and John came up with a fundraising idea to hold a “little festival” that would pay tribute to the car cult movie Running On Empty. (A number of scenes from the movie were shot in the Cobar area.)

They decided to run it in conjunction with the annual Festival of the Miners Ghost in October. The pair said they had no idea it would gain so much attention.

Ben said the logistics of putting on this festival just seem to keep on growing and growing.

“All of the motel and hotel accommodation in town was booked out by March.

“The caravan park is now fully booked out,” Ben reported.

There are also plans to create a ‘tent city’ at Tom Knight Memorial Oval which still won’t accommodate everyone and so they are now hoping to work with council to open up more caravan/camping options at Ward Oval.

John told councillors they have spoken to many of the business operators in the main street and advised them of what they could expect come festival weekend.

He said in particular they have stressed to service stations, supermarkets, pubs and clubs, and also banks, that there will be a considerable increase in demands for their services over the festival weekend.

“It will be bigger and busier than we expect,” Ben said.

He said members of the Broken Hill State Emergency Services have offered their assistance with traffic control and parking cars.

“It’s going to be grid locked in the main street on Saturday.

“It’s going to look like a scene out of a movie,” Ben warned.

Three of the cast’s main actors, along with another three actors from the movie, and six cars estimated to be worth in excess of over $1million, will headline the Running on Empty festival.