Cars, dust, checkpoints, jostling for a good campground, the searing heat and familiar bushland hum – part cicadas, part sun – of the Australian summer. It was good to leave the humidity of Byron Bay behind, 700 kilometres further north. Although as we were beginning to find out, Peats Ridge Festival was dishing up one fireball of an event for 2012.
This was also the first festival my partner and I were joined by our son Olin, now two. Another thing we were to discover as fresh festival parents is that organisation is paramount. Take turns in taking time out, and organise who you want to see. While I find this idea at a festival rather laboured, it pays when you’re a parent.
Nevertheless, we managed to weave our way around stalls, gigs, tents and riverside shady spots off the cuff, seeing a few old faces and friends, while witnessing the rainbow of frivolity that is Peats Ridge Festival. Upon entering the site we were confronted with a hula hoop workshop, where young jigglers gave it their all. This set the tone for the next two days – youthful smiling and jiggling about.
There seemed to be some interesting people in the crowd. I like people watching, and in the apparel and looks in people’s eyes, often there was something there, a spark of the living. There were all kinds of age groups too. I even spied on Abbie Cornish for a while.
I obtained a festival media pass through Eco Citizen Australia, a site I contribute to, so I poked my head around the Eco Living Village quite a bit. I managed to charge my phone via pedal power, chat with the festival’s sustainability manager Daniel Morrison, engage with a few workshops, and talk to Joey Chang, otherwise known as Cello Joe.
Joe was cycling his way around the world, powering his modified cello, loop pedals, and microphone (which he beat boxes with) through a generator for his next gig somewhere on the road. Unfortunately for Joe, his gear wasn’t working when I met him, but he had some stories to tell.
Perhaps my favourite part of the festival was lounging in the shade, drinking beer and watching people. Or perhaps it was seeing the smile on my boy’s face as he explored the Peats Ridge Festival micro-farm.
Apart from the acerbic rant of a bald volunteer in the Tantric Turtle on New Years Eve, the thunderingly loud audio, the lack of chill-out areas and the oven-like temperatures that left me feeling like a reheated sausage, I had a most excellent time at Peats Ridge Festival.
Sizzle spit dance.
My favourite band was Fanny Lumsden & the Thrillseekers. Take the time to have a listen. They might put a smile on your face as they did mine.