Wheels on fire. It’s a long, hot haul up the burning bitumen freeway. From the Tweed border to just below Gympie, inland from Noosa, in the luscious Mary Valley. I did the trip last year but don’t remember it being this far and this hot. Thought I’d get there in plenty of time to snaffle some prime real estate and claim my spot. Many others had the same idea. The camp grounds of the beautiful Borumba Deer Park are almost full already. I wrangle and scram my way in to a possy. Oh Gee, looks like I’ve inadvertently joined The Jensens’ clan. We proceed with awkwardness and a shit load of cussing to erect our tents. Sweat is dripping and flies are hovering and sticky, driving us loopy. Nathan in particular can’t handle the little arse-holes. It’s quite hilarious to watch everyone going troppo and getting tangled and frustrated with poles and ropes and things whilst constantly giving the Aussie salute. Those f-nn flies. I concur. Can’t stand the sticky shitty little pricks. I’m sure they weren’t like this last year. Aaaaarrrrgggg.
Right. Base camp done. Or done well enough. Nothing for it but to head down to the creek for a much needed cool down. I’m back baby. Feel right back at home. And I didn’t fall down the escarpment this time.The only obvious change this year is the addition of The Treehouse. Very clever. Between the two major stages Wonder and Yonder, a tree with a view. Up in its lofty, leafy towers to kick things off this Thursday eve, are DJs and Accomplice Collective with their funky, jazzy vibes and the thumping psychedelica of Shady Bliss. Blissfully shady after the scorching heat of the day.
It’s a long hot night tossing and turning, swatting mossies, tangling in sheets, trying to cool down enough to grab some zzz’s. Dawn cracks, the sun belts down turning tents into myriad coloured, steaming saunas. People lie languid, unmoveable. Others seize the day and head off to yoga. Or grab their towels and lilos and slink off to frolic in the creek. Flamingos were big, as in huge and as in popular last year, as lilo flotillas and friendships formed, drifting merrily down the stream. Their flamboyant tribe are in for some competition this year with an assorted, mutated gang of unicorns. Oh, collectively known as “A Blessing”.
Counterfeit Umbrellas, The Halls and Shady Bliss get things grooving, already sweltering at 10 in the morn. The Con and the Liar don safari type scout suits as they serenade us with their indie ditties. Bugs bring out the punk and a message of gratitude to such an amazing community of people for bringing this together, in tune with nature, respect for the environment. Then tear at the heart strings with a rendition of REM’s Everybody Hurts. Sometimes. Pop Cult are one of my new fave discovery. Big sound, beautiful harmonies and a “hot” lead singer in a Lou Reed ‘Rock and Roll Animal’ T-shirt.
A dip and siesta later, Captain Dreamboat funks and scats along. The Hazards of Swimming Naked impress with their massive instrumental sonics. There probably are folk swimming naked as they speak. Well, play. Coz they’re instrumental, right. My neighbours The Jensens have a throng of fans chaffing at the barrier before they even start. Yep. These Brissie boys are damn good. Had a soft spot for them ever since they covered my favourite song of all time, A Forest at The Cure Tribute show at The Triffid a while back. Morgan from Shady Bliss joins in on keys; Nathan does a few weird, underwhelming sommer-saults in his safari suit. And Joe somehow maintains some sort of order with his enthusiastic tambo-ing and fetching vox. Smart, talented, entertaining. 5 stars and a can of aero-gard.
Saturday starts off much the same. HOT.
‘Gong bad boys, White Blanks commence the musical shenanigans. Marcus sporting his brand new latest hairdo. The most ridiculous bowl-cut I’ve ever seen. Oh no. Those beautiful long locks. He threatened to do it. Can’t believe he carried through. Was hoping for a mullet or Mohawk. Pass me the bowl responsible for this ridiculous hair style: so I can spew in it. He’s such a mad dude and deceptively, bloody talented in his wild wicked ways. You get away with it mate.
Goldie Boys, Yes Sir Noceur take the prize for best outfits. Marc, they are not purple those shirts. I’d say fuchsia-magenta. (And a nod to Magenta Voyeur here for their psych rawk, chem rock set earlier. Nice). Yes Sir, looking mighty fine. Shiny, frilly, silky and resplendent. Complete with white pants with some sort of patches on the knees. I love a band that dresses up. Adds to the fun. Shows they don’t take themselves too seriously. Though their music is seriously good. Fellow Goldie muso Aquila Young joins in for a rollicking good time. And just in time. The heavens opened and threw the rest of the timetable and jungle into a frenzy. A sort of calm, “what can you do” sort of frenzy.
I ran into a very soggy Karl Williams who is meant to be closing the festival this eve with Tsun. No one’s too sure what’s happening at the mo. Zeus is residing up there pondering his next move and our future.
Yes, it’s a jungle out there. The Yonder stage had to be shut down so the rest of the festival was a bit skew-wiff, all over the place. People scrambled to close car windows and tent flaps. Alas, it was too late for many. A very soggy night ahead. But spirits weren’t dampened. It was sorta nice to splash through puddles and go dancing in the rain. Oka paid respect to the original owners of the land as we swirled umbrellas and pounded the earth bare-foot between the rain drops. Cheap Fakes, Zeferelli, Vaudeville Smash, Dreamtime. I catch snippets of sound and vision. The show must go on however haphazard in its organised chaos. No one is really panicking. Omega Child is doing his gothic one-man-band thing up top near the Bazaar, then is joined by all sorts of strange creatures of the night. And into the night go I…
Well I failed once again to get an interview. Last year I endeavoured to alliance The Belligerents and Belligerent Goats. Though I did get to have some mad hangouts with the Goats in their inner-sanctum, wagon-train set-up. Nice to see ya again Klancy and crew. Try getting five or ten guys together in one place at a festival when not on stage. Fat chance. Unless there’s a bong involved perhaps. I can tell that apart from Nathan and his fly-phobia, Jordon from The Jensens has some strange penchant for screeching like a banshee. Out of the blue and for no apparent reason. The call of the wild perhaps. Primal Tarzan war cry. And they all take first prize for rocking their Movember moustaches, though they look a bit dodgy in that 70’s pool-guy-porno way.
I’m exhausted, muddied, damp, ache, can feel a cold coming on and have a hell of a long drive home. The things we do for rock n roll. At least I didn’t break anything this year like my ankle the last. Ah, no deers did I spy either but a blessing of unicorns, a flamboyance of flamingos, and a forest of fruit loops. And a shit load of mofo f*%king flies. Bring your fly swats, insect repellant and mossie nets next year troops. We’ll fight the bastards. And probably create a new dance in the process. We’ve gotta do it for the music.
IMAGE (c) Kyle Butcher