It’s official. Ted Fest is on its way Down Under in 2010.
The annual celebration of all things Fr Ted has been held on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands since 2007, but in a big move to expand the brand to the southern hemisphere, organisers have exclusively revealed to the Irish Echo that the first ever Ted Fest Oz will be held in the New South Wales town of Parkes next April.
Parkes is currently best known for its annual Elvis Festival, but on Easter weekend next year the town will become a shrine to all things Craggy Island with visitors expected to flock in from all over the country to celebrate the surreal lunacy of the TV series.
“We’re all sorted and ready to go for the first ever Ted Fest Oz next year!” excited organiser Peter Phillips, who also runs the Irish Ted Fest, told the Echo.
“We looked at a few different venues around Australia but we decided Parkes was the best place to bring the festival as the infrastructure was already there from the Elvis festival they run every year.
“We’ll be holding the event at the racecourse just outside the town next Easter weekend and it’s a perfect location because it’s so isolated. We didn’t need to find an island to be isolated in Australia!”
Phillips says the Aussie version of the festival will bring all the sights and sounds of its Irish equivalent as well as some new additions.
“We’ll definitely be running the Lovely Girls competition, that’s for sure, and we hope to run it in regional heats so there would be a Lovely Girl from each state.
“We’ll also be running Ted’s Got Talent in a similar way and hopefully we’ll have a state winner from each region for that too.
“Outside of that we’ll be bringing a few new games along, such as Elvis Cage Fighting, Buckaroo Speed Dating, and one of my personal favourites – Camogie Jelly Wrestling. Basically it’ll be camogie played in a big tub of jelly,” he laughed.
Although the Australian event will be slightly bigger than its Irish equivalent, Phillips says the organisers are keen to retain the special atmosphere of the annual Aran Islands event.
“We normally have no more than 200 people or so at the Irish one, but we’d probably be looking for somewhere more around 500 at the Aussie event.
“It will be strictly limited numbers because it’s important for us to maintain the intimacy and uniqueness of the atmosphere we’ve worked so hard to create in Ireland.
“Tickets will be strictly limited, as I say, but people can log on to the website (www.tedfestoz.org) and register to get regular information and updates. Tickets will probably go on sale in November, but we’ll keep you posted.”
by Aaron Dunne
Keep your eyes open for the latest news on Ted Fest as it breaks, exclusively
in the Irish Echo.