It’s been a long time since my three girls went out on the town but they did it in style this weekend just past, at the Mullum Music Festival. They fitted in so well in the lounge area at the Civic Centre, with its comfy old sofas and potted palms, that they didn’t want to come home again.
Mullumbimby is a small town in northern NSW, not far from Byron Bay. It’s retained the very laid-back character that grew here when the waves of hippies first came in the late sixties. And that chilled lifestyle helps create one of the most relaxed music festivals in Australia.
What makes the Mullum Music Fest different is that it’s a whole-town effort. The locals volunteer in droves to help set up. It uses existing venues – halls, hotels, even the RSL and bowling clubs – so there’s none of that ‘gulag’ feel that most of the big festival settings create, with their fences and marquees and heavy security. Street parking is easy to find. So is food. Drinks are normal prices. There’s a double-decker ‘magic bus’ for those who don’t want to walk between the venues.
There’s no parking monitors, next to no security dudes, no bag searches, no blocking off the streets, no cops with dogs – and guess what, it works just fine. I didn’t see a single ‘incident’ all weekend.
Oh, and there’s great music. And magicians, comedians and circus acts. Some are local, but often no less talented than the national and international drawcards like Mia Dyson and Nahko. Any festival that features Ilona Harker gets my money. Can’t wait for next year…