4 days 8 venues over 100 performers, 21 to 24 November 2013.
If Mullumbimby is the biggest little town in Australia then the Mullum Music festival is surely Australia's biggest little music festival.
This crazy little 4-day festival attracts a wonderful range of international, national and local musicians. My 3 day weekend last year started with Loren Kate in the intimate Drill Hall venue, and was followed up with a session with Mr Cassidy (and others) in the Old Court house, where nobody seemed to be taking themselves too seriously - which as always a good thing for a music festival! Friday night ended in the Mullum High School hall with Boubacar Traore, an artist I had never heard before, but one who I will never forget, his deep south Mississippi blues and Mandingo lyrics blending perfectly and showed clearly the importance of African rhythms in world music. My education didn't stop there as next on stage was the Jamaican band, the Abyssinians and while their bodies may have been old, their spirits certainly weren't and they rocked the hall with their authentic brand of roots reggae. All of that, and it was just the opening night! But it set the pace for the rest of the weekend.
Highlights for me over the next three days were Bustamento rocking the local bowling club (affectionately known as the "Bowlo" by us locals) Will and the People at the RSA, and an un-plugged set in a room for only 30 people (I certainly felt spoilt) with Melbourne's Tinpan Orange,- Jo Pugg, Another highlight was Nano Stern's impromptu performance laying down a blanket at the local farmers market, playing songs and telling stories of his Chilean childhood.
The street parade was great fun you could either watch it pass by, or join in with 200 - 300 other musicians and festival goers. My ukelele came in handy as we played and strolled up the main street towards the Town Hall where an entire choir suddenly appeared and belted out a few impromptu songs.
The whole weekend felt like a town party, happy people on the streets all hours, buskers and crowd pleasers keeping everyone smiling as they danced, strolled, rode their bikes or jumped on the "Magic Bus" double-decker bus (complete with pumping Disco music and happy hippy chicks) between venues.- it's a destination in itself that bus!
Mullumbimby is a town that really opens its doors for the music festival. The venues don't double their prices for drinks, and neither do the cafés or restaurants. You can get the best coffee at Rock and Roll Café - which is also the best place to rub shoulders with serious international talent.
The festival caters for all age ranges with child and youth festival tickets available, and the mellow vibe of the town makes for an ideal family outing. There is also so much going on in the way of street performance that it's worthwhile popping along just to be part of the carnival atmosphere. Don't forget to bring your swimmers too, as there is no better way to cool off mid-afternoon with a dip in the local pool.
So, grab your diary, flick to 21 to 24 November 2013, (it's not that far away) and save the date. Take a look at www.mullummusicfestival for tickets and announcements on artists. Koonyum Range still has availability for the festival weekend and we're only 10-15 minutes from Mullumbimby - what more excuses do you need?!
Mullumbimby Music Festival
Ticket prices range from $105 for a 2 day pass to $215 for 4 days