The beginnings of Pinfest.
By Chris Slevin.
Pinfest began in 2012 after I was offered the use of one of the function rooms at the Caves Beach Hotel for a weekend, to hold a pinball event. The owner of the hotel at the time overheard people talking about pinball during a business lunch at the hotel and had the idea. The owner of the hotel made contact with me through a mutual friend that knew me, and the stage was set.
Having seen pinball shows in the USA on the net and dreaming of going to them, I thought this could be a chance to go to one without the huge costs!
After reaching out to local friends and pinball enthusiast, we were able to draw a core group together to try and make it happen. The first problem we had was we only had 8 weeks to make it happen! It was the first opportunity that the hotel had to provide a room that year free of charge…all I had to do was organise it. The date was set for the 8th and 9th of September.
A meeting was held at my pizza shop in Broadmeadow where I made the announcement. After putting our heads together to sort out a plan and work out the details, we were successful in sourcing around 12 people willing to contribute machines for the weekend.
This core group formed the beginnings of the Newcastle Pinball Association. These generous people offered up their much loved and valuable machines for no personal gain other then to see the Silverball once more brought back into the public eye. All profits were to be donated to local charities, which has been the case ever since. To date (post Pinfest 2018) we have donated over $45,000.
After many long hours work of repairing and cleaning the machines, we were confident they would last a weekend of more play than most of them had seen in many years. Happily most did and survived, with only some minor hiccups over the weekend. The logistics of transporting all these machines to the venue was no small task and once again the amazing owners contributed their time and efforts to make this happen in 2 short days. With a huge amount of effort and time from a few members to transport the bulk of the machines, the show would never have succeeded.
Getting the machines on site was one thing, we had to then set them up. Would the power supply be sufficient? Did we have enough extension cords? All these things were put to the test.
After preparing the room and machines, we didn’t know if anyone was going to come! We had made every effort to try to publicise the event. Were we the only ones who still remembered and loved pinball? Luckily the answer was no, and we had a great weekend sharing our passion for pinball with around 700 others. It was actually are real surprise to all of us.
Luckily for us the venue was also happy with the turn out for the weekend and we were able to make Pinfest into a yearly event.
From our beginning of 12 contributors from Newcastle and the Central Coast, we now have machines regularly coming from Sydney, and the North Coast, as well as Melbourne, Brisbane and even Mackay, as more owners come on board to keep the event alive and join the “orange shirts” in making Pinfest happen every year.
With 2018 bringing together 49 contributors for 78 machines on the weekend. We are always looking for more in the hope we can grow the event year by year.
We thank everyone who has helped out over the years as either a contributor or helper, without you it never would have lasted this long.
Also thanks to everyone who has come along and enjoyed some pinball with us.
Come on in this year and have a ball or 3!
Pinfest 2020 on NBN News
They were the original and some say best arcade game – pinball machines, the source of many a childhood memory. Decades on, a Newcastle group is bringing them back, to put the fun back in fundraising.Posted by NBN Television on Friday, November 20, 2020
360° Video at Pinfest 2018
Day one of Pinfest at Club Macquarie and it looks like whole bunch of fun for young and old. Take a spin around this 360 video. 😎 Hope we see you here over the weekend.Posted by Club Macquarie on Friday, September 21, 2018
NBN News Interview with Chris Slevin 2016
In an age before smartphones and computer games, pinball machines reigned supreme. Today the classic gaming past time was celebrated, at a one of a kind festival in the Hunter.Posted by NBN Television on Saturday, September 24, 2016
2015 Pinfest Highlights