Get your calendars out folks, because Derby Fest is slated for 23-24 April 2022!
This isn’t a race weekend or an event-based around competition. Instead, Derby Fest celebrates everything we love about this special corner of Tassie, bringing riders of all ages together to eat, drink and be merry in a mountain bike dreamland.
Event Director Bede Clifton tells Flow the weekend is bursting with activities for groms, competitions, ‘extreme bike stunts,’ suspension workshops, skills development, e-bike tips, live music and more.
“The most exciting thing for me is to have a group of like-minded people coming together to have a good time,” says Clifton. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming mainlanders back to Derby.”
Dorset Council General Manager Tim Watson tells Flow he first pitched events Tasmania on Derby Fest three years ago, and is stoked to finally see the gathering go ahead.
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“Derby Fest is going to be our signature event, and it’s really one for our core market. We’re seeing so many families come to Derby and that’s where you get your next generation of mountain bikers. So it’s important for Derby Fest to appeal not only to people that just come to Derby to ride, but also families, in a festival atmosphere, with good music, good food, beer and local produce,” he says.
Blue Derby is a veritable mountain biking wonderland, and it takes a herculean effort to keep it that way. With 125km of trails to keep free from brake bumps and bomb holes, the idea behind Derby Fest is to raise money to fund more trail work.
“All the profits go back into trail maintenance,” says Clifton. “We have four full-time groomers out maintaining trails throughout the year, but we need to pay for that, so that’s why we’re doing Derby Fest, to raise money for those activities.”
Showing off what Tassie has to offer
With the uncertainty of the past two years and borders in a constant state of flux, Derby Fest is a springboard for local producers to show off a bit of the Tasmanian hospitality we have all been longing for.
“There are so many local producers growing amazing food, and we’ve got Clover Hill which is a local winery, and Little Rivers doing beer; to me, it’s about letting those guys shine because they’ve had a pretty horrible couple of years,” says Clifton.
This festival isn’t just a one-off either, Clifton tells Flow that Derby Fest is locked in to keep the good times rolling for the next three years.
At the time of writing the festival schedule and band lineups are still being confirmed. We’ll keep this story up to date as the schedule is announced, but here is what we know so far.
Toby Shingleton from Shimano has confirmed to Flow they will be running free sessions on e-Bikes, looking at how far they have come, tuning, maintenance and more. Shimano’s experts will also be dropping knowledge about trailside tricks and tips, and skills development for home mechanics.
“Our focus activity to promote will be our tech and home mechanic sessions. These will be focused on the stuff that every rider should know and providing some basics to help riders when they are starting out, looking after kids bikes or just helping to keep their bike running tip-top between servicing at their local bike dealer.
Each free session will be hosted in our Shimano tent – with (a) small group focus and lots of opportunities to engage and ask questions,” he said.
All the action will be happening down near the pump track. There will be a full event expo with brands like Shimano, Merida, Norco, Mondraker, Met, Bluegrass, Peaty’s, Canyon and Fox all confirmed as exhibitors.
You will be able to check out the latest and greatest bikes, parts, helmets, clothing and more, and the product teams with each brand say they are working hard to organise demos, but were unable to confirm exactly what would be on offer yet. We also wouldn’t be surprised if some brand new, never before seen kit launched at the festival — but this is only speculation.
How to get your tickets?
Tickets for Derby Fest are on sale now, and the event will be capped at 2000-people. Camping will be open and Watson tells us the council has added additional so grab your swag and some s’mores. He also says there is a boatload of new accommodation options in town.
For more info, or to get your tickets head over to the Blue Derby website.