It’s that time of year again – when music, colour and the gaiety of Mullumbimby leaps from the hills for the Mullumbimby Music Festival. It’s late spring and last Sunday this savanna-like country town was transformed by a magic bus, athletic nurses, Da Vinci-inspired performers, varied instrumentalists and widespread guffaw.
I arrived with friends and family just in time to see the paraders rolling, tooting, strumming and swirling their way down the main street. It was a carnivalesque affair, as signs such as “give trees a chance” bobbed amongst the crowd, men wore fluffy pink top hats and angel wings, mock noblemen trotted gaily on pretend horses and the elderly slapped on wooden sticks covered in bottle caps.
As the procession moved towards the town’s ageing civic hall (by Australian standards), the crowd formed a circle and the mood escalated in fine celebratory style. It was merrymaking for the moment, for it was now that mattered. Everyone was relaxed and it seemed the kids and adults merged as one, enjoying the Mullumbimby Music Festival with equal mirth.
Then came the magic bus, with its two stories of swirls, colour and butterflies. As it pulled up, the Bee Gees were blaring out of its speakers and pixie-like children filled up the seats before it took off, Harry Potter style. Then came the nurses, who must have been in their late 40s, showing off their contortionist buffoonery, with bandaged heads, legs and the odd underpants flash.
After sharing a cheese, olive and spinach borek with my two-year-old son, stuffed with eggs and pickles, I lured him towards the magic bus. I confess a liking for the Bee Gees, the word magic on a bus and any form of double-decker transport, as it reminds me of London. However, he wouldn’t have it, so we sat under the shade and continued to watch the world go by, in a town quite unlike any other.