MardiGrass in Nimbin

Nimbin Travel Blog

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Rainbow Kombi

By the time we cleaned up the flat and said goodbye to our wonderful hosts it was pretty late afternoon.  We were hoping to reach Nimbin in the morning because apparently the camping site gets pretty packed and Lars was worried that we might not find a space next to his mates.

 

Now, I’ve never heard of Nimbin before I came to Australia.  All I knee was that it is a very small town built up around a community of hippies.  Little did I know that the MardiGrass in Nimbin is the biggest Australian celebration in favour of reforming the laws for the use of Cannabis, and ironically I don’t even smoke!

 

I thought there was something fishy when we told Brone and Brian that we were off to the event and they squeezed out a force smile, followed by a few sarcastic remarks.

one of the two streets in Nimbin
  Ok, maybe there will be a few drug dealers and some people off their face, but I started to worry when I got stopped by the cops and breathalysed just before arriving in Nimbin.  The cops where stopping every single car! 

 

Over the next few days, I’ve never seen a better display of colourful Kombi vans; smelly bare footed hippies; un-healthy looking and tangled up dreadlocks; tie-dye and torn t-shirts with provocative messages; alcohol and rolled up cigarettes (ok joints); buskers with djembes, congas and badly tuned guitars; live music of all kinds on and off stage; improvised fire jugglers and the odd hippie on fire! organic food, veggie food and plain grubby junk food; Green gnomes, corrupted officers and ganja fairies with spaced out looks and painted smiles; and the all time festival favourite, compost toilets.  It was brilliant!!      

 

Unfortunately the festival is not free, as soon as we got there we realised that we had to pay $50 to get a gold wrist band, which covered the cost of camping and admission to the main events.

the other side of the street
  Neither of us was keen to pay, so we asked around for options.  One was to volunteer a shift of 4 hours in exchange for a blue band, which covered only the events and we had to pay $20 for camping.  We put our names down but the list was hopelessly long, so I decided to cough up the cash whilst Else had a better idea…  I thought I was pretty street-wise but this girl knows every trick in the book!  She bought a spray can of gold paint and added her artistic touch and crayons to make two very realistic wrist bands for her self and Lars, I can’t believe how well it worked!

 

We met up with Lars’s friends and parked Bella right next to them, where they had kindly saved us a spot.  Whilst Else was busy forging her way into the festival I attempted to cook some pasta in the dark, and produced a filling but not-so-tasteful pasta dish with tuna, peppers and grass, real grass not the smoking stuff!  Then we joined the others for a night to be remembered.

hanging shoes, these are on every telephone and electricity line

 

GOON!!

 

There’s a drink every proper backpacker knows about, it’s cheap, nasty and they call it Goon.  I’ve heard of it but never tried it, until this night.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, Goon is the cheapest fruity/acidic wine in a cask, and for $9-12 you can get 4 litres of undrinkable filthy, with a guaranteed spewing coupon and memory loss.  I must admit, it’s not as bad as paint stripper and if you’re on a budget, you can easily convince your self that you are drinking a fine wine, yeah right!  We bought one between the three of us and we got a second one later in the night.

Else making wrist bands!
  It was Thursday and the main events started on Friday, still some of the small stages were playing good music.  I remember sitting next to Lars and Else with my plastic glass empty and my eyes transfixed on a lonely djembe, at the back of the stage just behind the solo aboriginal artist, singing and playing his guitar.  I’m not sure why I felt that I could compliment his music with a sonorous drumming accompaniment, but it didn’t go down well and I was rudely booted off the stage.  Undeterred and partly fuelled on Goon, this is bad stuff remember, I jumped on a second time, but when they kick me off I remember saying in Ali G style ‘is it because I is not aboriginal?’  Bad, bad choice of words!  It was totally un-funny, and I take this opportunity to publicly apologise for my insensitive remark, maybe if they knew who Ali G was I would have gotten away with it…  Anyway I’m not drinking Goon again, I left the party and went off to redeem my free coupon for a spew in the nearest compost toilet!

 

Funny enough, the word ‘goon’ is also an English term for someone who is classed as an idiot or a half-wit!        

 

For the next few days I stuck to the familiar taste of beer and enjoyed the festival in a much sober state.

I think his name was Roger or Ray...
  I loved the Kombi Konvoy, a parade of restored vintage Volkswagen vans and a few old beetles, I think 58 in total turned up.  Also the Hemp Olympix was quite entertaining, where people from the public competed in a series of events such as the bong throwing and yell challenge, various joint rolling competitions and the grower’s iron person event (check out the mardigrass website for more details).  The carnival was great too and I’ve uploaded lots of photos of the different entries for all to see.  But the best parts of this festival for me were the after parties, as I stayed up most nights moving from group to group like a fly on salad, and the abundance of live music, improvised drumming beats on the streets and lots of buskers, in particular two chaps with a banjo and a harp, strange but great combination of sounds.

 

One song will always remind me of this festival, I heard it over and over and I think it was coming from a car stereo in our group.

the last of Goon
  It’s ‘love generation’ from Bob Sinclar, it was perfect for the occasion and it’s so catchy that you just can’t get it out of your head!  I’m still singing it now, 4 weeks later…  

 

This festival was great, like a smaller version of Glastonbury but with more drugs than you can shake a stick at, or a magic wand to be on the subject.  If anyone is passing this way on the first week of May, make sure you stop by, but bring you own beers and plenty of cash, because there’s only one bottle bank and one ATM!  Oh yeah, steer clear of Goon too!

Ape says:
Ss it because I is not aboriginal?


:D HAHA! Question of the year 2008 :D
Posted on: Jun 01, 2008
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Rainbow Kombi
Rainbow Kombi
one of the two streets in Nimbin
one of the two streets in Nimbin
the other side of the street
the other side of the street
hanging shoes, these are on every …
hanging shoes, these are on every…
Else making wrist bands!
Else making wrist bands!
I think his name was Roger or Ray.…
I think his name was Roger or Ray…
the last of Goon
the last of Goon
having a... fag
having a... fag
Nimbin Museum
Nimbin Museum
Street drumming performance
Street drumming performance
one of the contestant at the Hemp …
one of the contestant at the Hemp…
The one of the far left is called …
The one of the far left is called…
Wood carving on the street
Wood carving on the street
one of the many bands
one of the many bands
Face painting
Face painting
Joint rolling competition, later w…
Joint rolling competition, later …
Nimbin Museum
Nimbin Museum
preparations for the parade
preparations for the parade
Ganja Fairies
Ganja Fairies
I dont know these two but the pho…
I don't know these two but the ph…
Ganja Fairy?
Ganja Fairy?
one of the entries in the parade
one of the entries in the parade
Ganja Mama
Ganja Mama
Ganja Fairies
Ganja Fairies
A huge inflatable joint
A huge inflatable joint
I love this one!
I love this one!
Entry from Rainbor Solar Power Com…
Entry from Rainbor Solar Power Co…
The spirit of the herb
The spirit of the herb
Corrupt Officers
Corrupt Officers
one of the many gigs
one of the many gigs
Main Stage
Main Stage
Else and Sam
Else and Sam
Steve, I love his Truck.  The big …
Steve, I love his Truck. The big…
Nimbin
photo by: Mr_Jones