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Interview: Taryn Walton from Dogapalooza


It’s a dog lover’s dream come true, a festival full of woofers! Well for the second year in a row this dream is coming true in Melbourne! Dogapalooza was a huge success last year and the organisers have even bigger and better plans for this year. We spoke to organiser Taryn Walton about what to expect from the second Dogapalooza and all things canine!

For those who aren’t familiar, tell us about Dogapalooza!

Dogaplooza started in Adelaide three years ago and it was the brainchild of a couple of guys over there that wanted to help raise money and awareness for Oscar’s Law. Oscar’s Law is all about making people aware of where their puppies come from…the majority of pet store puppies are coming from puppy farms, and people aren’t aware that there’s actually dogs out there that are just caged and bred constantly, to produce puppies that we love but are not coming from a healthy and loving place.

So Dogapalooza started as a brilliant way to bring people and music and dogs together to help raise a bit more awareness as to where the dogs are coming from, where the puppies are coming from, and to help them keep campaigning and hopefully change the laws.

Tell us a little more about the organisations Dogapalooza supports?

So the majority of our proceeds are going to our partner Oscar’s Law, and Oscar’s Law have selected a few organisations under them. And it’s so hard because there’s so many worthy organisations that need our fundraising! So we’re donating to Stafford Rescue Victoria as well as Puppy Tails Rescue and Melbourne Animal Rescue. But this year we’ve also got a couple of others that are not so dog-based like Sea Shepherd, Andarra Wildlife Sanctuary, and Save the Orangutans – Dogapalooza also just recently sponsored a little orangutan!

So we’re diversifying this year in where our rescue money is going. But yeah, the majority goes to Oscar’s Law and then a few others like Greyhound Rescue Victoria and Melbourne Animal Rescue. So we try and keep it local as well as going a little bit further afield.

Last year we raised over $40,000 for the animal rescue groups so for the first one in Melbourne, we were pretty chuffed about that! We’re offering something bigger and better this year, so we’re hoping to bring bigger and better money to the rescue groups.

Do you have a number on how many dogs were at last year’s Melbourne Dogapalooza?

We didn’t take a tally…there’s been a few guesses, but I would say at least 500 throughout the day! It was pretty amazing and it’s so funny ‘cause Melbourne’s such a dog-diverse city that there was literally a dog of every size and every breed you could ever imagine! From massive Great Danes that looked like horses to the smallest little teacup Chihuahuas, it was amazing! It was a really awesome day, it’s puppy heaven…and we are looking to expand, so hopefully you’ll see this event in other cities soon!

What kind of attractions are going to feature this year?

Well this is the beauty about Dogapalooza…before we even had a lineup, or let people know what the day’s gonna entail, we sold a quarter of our tickets within a few days of them going on sale! People are coming not just for the entertainment or what’s on offer, but the lineup is definitely a bonus! We’ve managed to score a couple of really awesome treats in regards to music in Melbourne this year.

So we’ve got our massive headliner, which we were thankful enough to be able to announce the other day, which is Thelma Plum! If anyone follows her on Instagram she’s a massive dog lover, she’s got her pup Rosie, hopefully Rosie comes down with her!

But we’ve also got The Little Stevies and Sam Lohs, and we’ve also got a super-secret guest which we can’t announce, which is a little bit exciting! So people will have to come down, check it out and see who will be joining us that day. But we’ve also got some stalls, and we’re gonna be having some other entertainment this year. We’re partnering with Moon Dog Brewery, and there’s gonna be a littler bar where people can get a little Moon Dog Brew from. We had to partner with a dog-named brewery, just to keep it in theme!

And there’s gonna be heaps to do and see. We’ve got Blue Wheelers Dog Wash, they kindly came down last year and it was absolutely huge, and they donated their profits. And so many dogs got washed that day, so it was a very clean event! So there’s gonna be heaps to do down there.

We’re gonna be having awards there as well, so people can bring their dog and enter a category such as the best inner-city hipster, or the quiet achiever. I’m assuming we’ll have a lookalike competition as well, that’s always in the dog competitions! And there’s also gonna be lots of vegan food on offer.

This is a tough question, but do you have a favourite breed of dog?

I’m kind of biased because I’ve got a little labradoodle at the moment and she’s insane! Her name’s Frankie, she’s only just turned one. She wasn’t able to go to last year’s Dogapalooza because she was too young, but this year she’ll definitely be there. But if I actually had to pick one breed… when I grew up my parents had Afghans. If you’ve ever seen Afghans, they’re a real seventies dog and you don’t see them around anymore. But they’re definitely my favourite breed, ‘cause you don’t see them, and they’re a little bit slow…I actually think they’ve been voted dumbest dogs of all time! But they’re a gorgeous breed, very different looking, and they’re my favourite.

At last year’s festival how did you find the dogs behaved with each other?

Part of our rules of letting dogs in is that everyone has to be well-behaved and if anyone’s misbehaving, they’ll be asked to leave. But luckily we didn’t have to ask anyone to leave last year! Everyone was super well-behaved. We make sure we’ve got animal behaviourists on board just in case, but we had no issues last year which was absolutely fantastic for that number of dogs. And we’ve also got a beautiful off-leash area that dogs can go nuts in, it’s a little fenced-off area. So yeah, it was easy and issue-free which was great for that many dogs. It was a dream come true!

Anything you wanna add?

I just wanna stress exactly why we’re doing this. I think sometimes people get caught up in what’s on offer, but essentially what we’re trying to do is bring awareness to the inhumanity of puppy farms and the inaction of governments in regards to changing the laws. Even the greyhound racing law in New South Wales is a really good step in the right direction in regards to the mistreatment of dogs… so that kind of thing helps us bring awareness to what’s going on in regards to puppy farming.

So we want people to know that’s why we’re doing this. The music and the entertainment and everything else is a bonus, but if people can understand that they’re bringing in money and donating everything they spend there on that day, they’re all donating proceeds, if not all of their proceeds, to this fund because they believe in such a strong cause like this. So it’s just a really important day to try and make a change, basically.

Dogapalooza Festival 2016

Burnley Park, Richmond VIC

Get Tickets HERE