Friday 19th September – Mitchell Creek Rock ‘n’ Blues Festival
Bronwen and I had taken the day off to go to the Mitchell Creek Rock ‘n’ Blues Festival. We’d planned to get up early, and rush up to the festival, but I’d got a call late last night from the festival coordinator, asking if I could give someone from the Gold Coast a lift up, so we’d arranged to meet them in the city in the morning. Then, at six in the morning, I got an SMS saying he didn’t need a lift anymore, so I slept in a little.
By the time we got up, packed, and drove the couple of hours drive to the festival, it was nearly midday.
We weren’t sure what to expect, and were used to Woodford—where it’s so busy that we have to go up a week early to try to get a campsite, and even then it’s stressful because it’s already very full and we camp in an area we’re not supposed to camp in, and had our tent taken down by security one year (which was pretty crap—we arrived for the festival, and couldn’t find our tent and no one knew where it was or why it wasn’t there anymore… it took quite some time to find out that it’d been taken down because someone else wanted to set up their tent in the same area, and was being stored in security), and it’s increasingly unlikely we’ll be able to park our car anywhere near our tent, and if we do our car usually gets blocked in for the duration of the festival so we can’t get out again… but Mitchell Creek had heaps of camping, with heaps of space, and was a much nicer size than Woodford. Also, the weather was delightful— not roasting hot in the middle of the day like Woodford always is.
We were met at the gate by Debs, the festival coordinator, who was surprised to find that we hadn’t brought the guy up from the Gold Coast—apparently she’d not been told he wasn’t coming. We drove up to a flat-ish spot behind the stages in a semi-restricted area set aside for volunteers and other special people, and set up our tent. It was a delight after Woodford to have a nice camping area with plenty of space and no stress.
After setting up our camp, I headed down to the merch tent to see where I’d be volunteering later in the afternoon. Once there, I found out that the guy I’d been supposed to bring up from the Gold Coast was the other half of me, and should have been running the merch tent all morning, but as he’d cancelled at the last moment without telling anyone, I started work straight away and worked almost all the time for the rest of the festival. Fortunately though, the merch tent was set up directly in front of the stages, so was actually one of the better places to hang out anyway.
Debs was very stressed, running around trying to make everything in the festival work, but the merch tent was relatively quiet, and a breeze after the chaos that is the festival shop at Woodford.
Bronwen worked in the ticketing office near the front gate.
By night time I’d discovered an unexpected problem with the festival—it was very, very cold, though they did have a big bonfire down in the festival, which was lovely and warm. I hadn’t expected it to be anywhere near as cold. We’d intended to only bring a small sleeping bag, but at the last minute I’d thrown in another one, which turned out to be very fortunate because even with the two of them it was so cold that both Bronwen and I kept waking up. Our tent was on the slightest of slopes—which would not normally be a problem, but the sleeping bags were made out of shiny sleeping-bag-material, and they kept slipping off, so I kept waking up frozen half to death to find that the sleeping bag had slid down.
Saturday 20th September – Stonefield
I got up early and had muesli for breakfast—turns out cold weather is good for eskies, and everything was still quite cold—before heading down to the merch tent in time to help open it up for the day. I spent most of the rest of the day there, wandering around the festival from time to time to check things out.
It rained for a short while a few times in the afternoon.
I met the people taking photos for the festival, who gave me a media pass, so I spent some time in the “press pit” in front of the stage ruining my hearing. Then, after we’d shut the merch tent down, we went up on stage to sell merchandise for the last two acts—Stonefield and T Bone Turner—which was a bit different and interesting.
Fortunately, due I think to the cloud cover which had come over during the evening, it was much warmer at night and I had a good sleep. Bronwen had also figured out how to merge the two sleeping bags together to stop them sliding off as easily.
Sunday 21st September – Sandi Thom & Dallas Frasca
I again spent most of the day at the merch tent, enjoying the festival and helping run it at the same time. Bronwen and I went for a wander around the site, discovering that it was much bigger than I’d thought—there was a creek, and the camping extended for quite some distance. It seems to be quite a good site for a festival.
Sandi Thom did a signing at the merch tent in the afternoon, which was the busiest signing of the festival and probably the busiest the merch tent got, though it had been getting increasingly busier as more artists brought in CDs and shirts to sell, and more people came to buy them.
I’d been supposed to finish my shift at nine, but we stayed open at the merch tent until just after midnight to do a signing with Dallas Frasca, and then Debs and I (with the help of Bronwen) had to pack up and count all the money, which took until three o’clock—I needed to get to work in the morning, and it was half past three by the time Bronwen and I left the festival. Fortunately we’d taken our tent down and packed everything up earlier on in the afternoon, as I don’t think I’d have been capable of doing it at 3:30 AM.
Having managed to drive home without dying (through rain no less), using nothing more than iced coffee (the servo I eventually found and stopped at to buy iced coffee, sometime after four in the morning, was full of other people from the festival in the same situation, also buying coffee and on their way back to Brisbane to go to work in the morning), I fell into bed and got a few hours’ sleep before I had to get up again to go to work. It was 5:20 AM.