day 1
Nocturnl, possibly the heaviest band at the festival – playing to a very small crowd, in the indigenous tent, with Campbell the swaggie bouncing on his toes in front of the speaker stack.

The Hi – tops brass band, with a completely unexpected rapper, playing arrangements of songs I’ve only ever heard on teenagers phones.

Day 2
The guy with the head torch and the ipad asking two teenagers in front of him to sit down cos he was trying to watch the joni Mitchell song circle. Oh look, he’s got a compact camera now. But who am I to talk, I’m writing a blog post on my phone.

The Cazzman of Dubmarine is surely the best front man of any band in Australia. I can think of half a dozen people who can sing and dance and exude energy like him, but the others have names you already know, like Keith Richards.

Day 3
The act of the day was the storm, beginning with the sunset double rainbow where the second rainbow had an infinite number of smaller rainbows attached. I watched the lightning approach behind The Crooked Fiddle Band, then enjoyed the thunder backstage with a storm chasing stage manager and Barry Morgan. Then sheltered from the actual downpour with Andrew Winton, and walked up to the amphitheatre where Beth Orton got all happy about the loveliness and dumped her whole set list and played requests.

I finished the day way too late with Michelle Xen & the Neon Wild. It’s the band Betty Musgrave would have if she had a band.

Day 4
After a late night and a morning of wandering the festival alone I got all teary with Clare Bowditch (her joy and sadness always do it for me) and Mo Kenny, and even Darren Hanlon got me with his nostalgic song.
Sam Amidon played some really old songs really nicely. And he introduced his drummer by saying “he’s a fount of musical knowledge, like in the car he introduced me to Led Zeppelin, you know that ensemble, and The Grateful Dead, an ensemble who existed just for jamming – I love that idea. And Chet Baker, do you know the song”… I forget the song name, but he proceeded to sing the chorus and then the whole scat solo.

I never thought about how much the elements appear in Bob Marley’s songs until I stood in the misting rain beside the thing that’s going to burn at the end of the festival listening to julian Marley the songs. So much rain, so much fire.


Day 5, new years eve.
The day you realise that lots of things have happened for the last time. The day you decide that doesn’t matter, and spend more slow time talking to friends around the lake.

The Deep Blue Orchestra lived up to their press release – choreography, costumes, lots of popular favourites… And, reprising the last party at the Morrow (my #1 gig of the 2013) , they played You’re The Voice.

Day 6, new years day
I began to day listening to a woman with a beautiful operatic voice singing Gaelic, accompanying herself on the harp. Then stumbled into the end of an indigenous song circle, and heard a Tibetan monk, a Western desert man, an island woman, three Cape York boys, and two Gambians jam together, each in their own language.
Then Taikoz, the most successful translation of a traditional art form to the kids I’ve ever seen. It’s the muscles and the somersaults.

Finished the set, the night, and the festival with the Crooked Fiddle Band until 2am at The Grande. Keeping the wasted revellers from sleeping.

Things surprising
I didn’t see any naked people, on or off stage. A couple of people got close, and I didn’t get to the Hot Brown Honey Burlesque (so rude that two people wouldn’t tell me what happened and one guy would only say that he had to jack off afterwards)

On day 5 my nephew Josh (aged 15) pointed out that we had been with all these thousands of people for a week and he hadn’t seen any violence. His life is harder than mine. And when I thanked him at the end of the week for being so cool and easy to hang out with he said “well that’s not how I am to myself, I’m hard to be with, always complaining and whinging inside my own head.”

I didn’t go to ANY circuses. That was just dumb. Bad planning. I did see three of the freak show freaks and a few vaudeville acts, but I should have dumped someone for the circus.

I joined the game. Got Frogo’s card. My first task was to write a poem about leaves, but the great gloom arrived before I got to tell it. Here’s the poem:
She offers me gifts, then she leaves.
I tell him I’ll wait, but I leave.
You can do some harm with stones and sticks,
But you cause real pain with leaves.