18 May 2023

Yours and Owls finds a natural new home on campus

| Jen White
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Yours and Owls music festival founders and UOW vice-chancellor on UOW football field.

Yours and Owls founders Ben Tillman, Balunn Jones and Adam Smith at UOW with vice-chancellor Patricia Davidson. Photos: University of Wollongong.

The Illawarra’s annual Yours and Owls Festival has had many homes over the years but for the next three years at least, home base will be the University of Wollongong.

It’s a natural homecoming for the trio behind the region’s premier music festival – Ben Tillman, Adam Smith and Balunn Jones – who all studied at UOW.

As childhood friends in Wollongong, Ben, Adam and Balunn all began their undergraduate studies at UOW. Adam undertook a degree in economics while Ben and Balunn undertook degrees in psychology.

Ben said the three-year partnership with UOW gave them an opportunity to settle into their new home and take advantage of the natural beauty and facilities that the campus has to offer.

“We are delighted to be returning home to UOW to present Yours and Owls within the campus grounds,” he said.

“We are excited to welcome patrons to experience the festival in the space where the initial idea was hatched all those years ago. Our team have been busy creating ways to bring the multitude of spaces available to us alive across the campus.”

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The popular festival has struggled to find a permanent home in the past few years and has been hit hard by COVID-19 and poor weather, which forced the cancellation of last year’s show at Stuart Park in Wollongong.

It has brought some of the world’s most loved artists and acts to Wollongong over the years, including The Wombats, Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Offspring, Hilltop Hoods, Flight Facilities, Angus and Julia Stone, Tkay Maidza and Baker Boy, as well as featured performances from countless up-and-coming local artists.

This year’s two-day festival at UOW will be held on 14 and 15 October. It will take over the campus, with UOW’s grounds, ovals and laneways coming alive to the sounds of some of the world’s best artists.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson said the university was thrilled to be the new home of the Yours and Owls Festival and to welcome the community onto campus for the event.

“Adam, Ben and Balunn, the team behind Yours and Owls, are proud former students of UOW and we have watched in awe as they have changed the cultural and creative landscape of Wollongong over the past ten years,” Prof Davidson said.

Yours and Owls Festival. Aerial shot of people on football field at UOW.

UOW’s grounds, ovals and laneways will come alive to the sounds of some of the world’s best artists in October.

She said holding the festival at UOW reflected the university’s role at the heart of the Wollongong community and would enable those who are not students the opportunity to see what the campus has to offer.

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“UOW does not stand alone. It is part of the fabric of our community. We want it to be a place of world-class teaching, learning and research, but also a place where everyone feels welcome and where those connections come to life,” Prof Davidson said.

“The relationship between Yours and Owls and UOW is a natural fit for us. It is a chance for us to showcase the beauty of our campus, to encourage the community to have fun and enjoy some of the best live music around in a safe and relaxed setting.

“Now, more than ever, universities are critical to the success of local economies. We are delighted to be the home of Yours and Owls Festival for the next three years and can’t wait to see what the 2023 event has to offer.”

The 2023 Yours and Owls Festival is supported by Wollongong City Council and Destination Wollongong.

For more information visit the Yours and Owls Festival website.

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