Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A weekend of soul food

Last Sunday night I was on my way home from the Blue Mountains Music Festival.  I thought the Mongolian folk/punk/rock band that appeared at the festival was on the same carriage. I could have sworn it was them, I even had a look at their Facebook page to check and they had the short one, the tall one and the big one who had seemed so intimidating on stage in his traditional costume of studded leather arm/back vest and John Lennon sunnies (which made him look spookily like John Belushi). Now he was waking up and adjusting his 'Yankees' cap.  He was not so scary now in his t-shirt which just managed to cover his belly which last night was bursting out of a nasty, black leather belt that pushed the flesh out in a V at the front.

The last gig for me on Sunday was in the car park marquee with Grace Barbe from the Seychelles who was beautiful in voice and vision.  She had a full dance floor in front of the stage where dozens of very happy festival-ers were swaying as if they were on holiday in Jamaica (or the Seychelles for that matter), though we were sheltering from an icy wind and rugged up with jackets and scarves.

Grace Barbe - beauty, talent and attitude

Over at the Tantric Turtle Tent (yes, you read that right) there had been bands from Scotland, Ireland, some kind of Eastern European-sounding group and also the all girl indigenous singers and dancers.  On Saturday night the Scottish trio, the Borderers (led by a blonde, bobbed glamour in a tartan mini skirt and black lace knickers) got the crowd singing Hallelujah beautifully and then dancing to Gypsy music like they lived in tents.

Throughout the weekend you may have thought you were in Nimbin rather than Katoomba, but the locals know that its just the North Coast with snow here.

There's an eclectic mix of artists, writers, gardeners, musicians and random performers who live in the mountains.  I know that they all believe they are individuals (cue Life of Brian scene), but they dress and live as a clan that loves head wraps, yoga pants and tapestry ponchos.  They dress their beautifully grubby kids in layers of natural fibres and conflicting patterned dresses and eat lots of homemade bread and lentil curries.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, just don't pretend you're the first generation to live that way, its been around since the bohemian era in the early 1900's (and probably before).  Shunning the 'system', or rat race, and feeling smug about your environmentally friendly lifestyle (funny how so many of them have iPhones though...).

Don't get me wrong, I admire their commitment to dreadlocks, hemp pants and gluten free rice balls, but please don't look down from your free range high horse to those of us that don't boho all the way.  Some of us don't look good in paisley.

My sister is a Katoomba local (but not of the hippy variety) and has volunteered at the festival in previous years, but this weekend we were both there to enjoy. Enjoyed the music, the coffees, the curries, the baklava and brownies, the dancing, the people watching and the Hillbilly Peach Ciders in the Boho Bar.  I fell in love with this bar so much I want to recreate it in my house.

Its full of furniture found on the side of the road (literally! they have been adding to it for the past 19 years).  Vinyl chairs, old globes of the world, coffee tables topped with school maps, an old TV set circa 1975, wooden ironing boards used as bar benches and big comfy vinyl couches.  The floor is covered in old rugs and the marquee walls are covered in curtain materials not uncommon in homes of my childhood - think '70's, big orange and brown flowers.  They even have a hook rug and a string and nail abstract piece on the wall that is as ugly as the one I did in 6th class!

There's something about good, live music that feeds my soul.  I definitely need more of it in the future.

The Stray Sisters
George and Noriko

Spooky Men's Chorale
This weekend I've watched The Stray Sisters (formerly known as The Waifs, I got to chat/gush with Donna at the RSL ATM), George and Noriko (chatted to Noriko's husband and baby who was so cute I considered running off with - the baby, not the husband), The Pigs (funny and fun so I bought their CD's), The Spooky Mens Chorale (just a little bit weird), The Jess Valach Band (who I got to high five after his set).

The Pigs

Jeff Valach

Jeff Lang, Ash Grunwald and Ben Walker did their stuff on stage right in front of me, where I was so close to the speakers the hairs on my arm were vibrating (OK, actually waving in the breeze).  I've moved my hips more in one hour than I have in 8 weeks of belly dancing lessons.  I danced so hard at the end of Ash's set, I thought my heart was going to crash out of my chest and land on the stage (I really need to exercise more ...).
Benny Walker
Ash Grunwald

Jeff Lang
The poor young thing next to me was already overwhelmed by the action on floor.  I think she thought she had been kidnapped and plonked in the middle of a cult.  I saw her expression when he started his guitar up and she happened to be standing in front of the speakers, it was like a train had hit.  She scuttled away with her hands on her ears - and I took her spot.  It wasn't going to affect my hearing, I had damaged that long ago in pubs of my youth.

As I wrote this down on the train, I'm feeling peaceful and connected and until the chaos of home hits, I can get this all down on paper without any clutter or deadline.  But after two days away, I'm very happy to go home and get some hugs from my family (hopefully not only from my dog).

Peace and mung beans are good 'n all, but give me a well upholstered couch, a cup of tea and a cuddle and I'm just as happy.

*Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT*

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway here to win a cocktail shaker set (I promise I will post a picture of it soon!)**


  1. It's good to see live music - we go a bit, and now I also go with one of the kids (mortified to be with his mum, but too bad).

  2. You know I don't think I've ever seen a live band? I like the idea, but I'd really have to like the band I think.


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