Bring on the Music and dancing

Bulli Travel Blog

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the Beez

My first volunteer roster begins at 3pm and I head off early to run through the ropes with Bruce and Robyn, our venue managers.  It is all quite easy as I have had plenty of experience using eftpos and cash registers.  Folkies are usually friendly and forgiving people so the customers are not daunting.  Pre-paid tickets forms and complimentary tickets are exchanged for wristbands.  There is a steady flow of performers, volunteers and paying customers during my three hour shift and I have fun.

As soon as I am finished I head off to join Andrew to see the opening concert where about 18 acts get a chance to showcase three of their songs.  Vic Chapman provides the Aboriginal welcome on behalf of the indigenous tribe of the district to the folk who are attending.

The BordererS-a high energy act
  The Black Diamond Shanty is basically a huge tin shed with a concrete floor that slopes downwards from the stage and despite materials hung to improve the acoustics it is really a huge challenge for the sound people and not entirely successful. 

We have been meeting some lovely people who are volunteers during the last couple of days and the atmosphere is very welcoming.

Next day I am on the first shift starting at 8am.  I get to have a busy shift as the crowds are arriving to make the most of the next three days of entertainment and mostly purchasing season ticket passes and camping.  It is Australia Day (26th January) and the media has been full of reports that the organisers of the Big Day Out concert in Sydney today are banning the Aussie flag on the grounds that it might "incite rioting"!  Australians are rightly outraged that they would suggest that we can't show our patriotism for fear of offending other nations on our national day for goodness sake.

Rory McLeod, a master of the harmonica, storytelling
  Indigenous people mostly think of Australia Day as Invasion Day and the loss of their country to an invading nation but that was not what the BDO organisers were suggesting.

So, a huge backlash began with people flying flags from their cars (we did), wearing them, applying transfers of the Aussie flag to their faces and arms.  The morning shift is very hot but once it is out of the way I head up to the dancing area and arrive just in time to join a Contra Dancing workshop.  Andrew gets reluctantly dragged in but retires after a couple of dances finding that the turns leave him disoriented and he cannot keep up with the moves as a result.  I have great fun. 

Amongst the artists that I chose to see are Jigzag, Women in Docs, the BordererS, Rory McLeod, the Wheeze and Suck band and am totally blown away by a band I haven't seen before called the Beez.

The Settlers Match reunion in the Black Diamond Shanty
  Billed as being from Germany the two women might well be but the guys come from the USA and Sydney.  They sing songs by Kylie Minogue, Queen, ACDC, the Dolly Parton song Jolene translated into German then translated back into English as no one "got"it sung as Jolena, in arrangements that you wouldn't have believed possible, very clever and extremely funny.  I want the sparkly boots that one of the women wore!

Over the next few days I have a go at an Indian dance workshop, watch an African Gumboot dance workshop, belly dancers.  I see a reunion of Settlers Match who last played together 12 years ago so I never saw them in their heyday.  The crowds gather for this performance and I see why they are well loved and missed.  There are about 11 venues around the place that caters for children, dancing, singing workshops, a session bar, a poets breakfast, blackboard sessions and much, much more.

Wheeze and Suck band, traditional English songs and Morris tunes

All this talent for a very reasonable $AUS90 for the season ticket and only $AUS15 camping fee.  As volunteers we earn our free ticket.  By Sunday I had seen Rory's three gigs and he failed to repeat a song at all.  Sunday evening finished with a concert to honour all the volunteers and once again the Beez did a great show. 

All that is left is to rest one more night then the pack down commences early in the morning to restore the greyhound and trotting track for another year.


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the Beez
the Beez
The BordererS-a high energy act
The BordererS-a high energy act
Rory McLeod, a master of the harmo…
Rory McLeod, a master of the harm…
The Settlers Match reunion in the …
The Settlers Match reunion in the…
Wheeze and Suck band, traditional …
Wheeze and Suck band, traditional…
More Rory
More Rory
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