Let us tell you about a magical little festival we attended on the weekend. About 8 hours south of the Gold Coast in the Hunter Valley is a little place called Belford. The property of Dashville, a nice quiet piece of family owned land that has been turned into the most perfect festival ground one could picture in their head. We arrived in the van where we were welcomed by workers that looked even more excited than we were. After you get your wrist bands it’s then time to pull up a spot to camp for the weekend. Having about 2500 thousand people to squeeze in, it’s a good idea to travel with your crew so the volunteers don’t have a hard time moving everyone around.
Once you are set up it’s time to crack open a beer and find your bearings. Best part about this is 1) Nothing is more than 500m away and 2) You can bring your own drinks(no glass). The stages are set up right next to each other which is great because you don’t miss a beat of music all weekend and if you have kids, don’t worry they will have plenty to do as they have a circus workshops, sandpits, games and a halfpipe skate ramp with pro demos. You can take your own food also but there is a good selection of tasty food if you don’t feel like cooking, I myself sampled a lot of this.
The music this year seen some of the hottest Australian bands touring at the moment, and even though the Friday started off with a late thunder storm it didn’t stop the punters coming out thick and thin to enjoy their favourite bands. The grass was soft and green so it was perfect for some hearty barefoot stomping and dancing. Friday was definitely a movers and shakers kind of day, some of my highlights being, Galleri (mid-north coast) big band kicking it with a tight horn section, local boys Baghead with a set full of passion for live music. Polish Club (Sydney) two piece rock that will get you jumping. The Belligerents(Brisbane) played in the rain and no one moved, and cracked out a wicked cover of Fat Boy Slim’s praise you. Sex On Toast(Melbourne) smooth and funny. The Cactus Channel (Melbourne) a young band that are kicking butt. Dan Sultan (Melbourne) kicked a very professional set and played a tribute to the late great Prince with a classic cover of Purple Rain and everyones favourite Oka (Sunshine Coast) with earthy beats that will melt your face off. As the live music came to an end, the party was just getting started. Silent disco time goes from 12am - 3am and to give you an idea of how it works, they have 3 DJ’s all playing for your love.
You get a set of headphones and you can change the channels between the DJ’s and listen to the best songs. One thing i always love to do is take off the headphones and listen to how good everyone can sing. After dancing for about 2 1/2 hours it was time to wind down and get some rest for the next day.We woke to find the sun had graced us with it’s presence on day 2, for the people that managed to find their way out of bed early, you can find your self a nice cup of coffee and a spot of yoga down by the stage, or just chill by one of the many open fire places that are there to keep you warm until the sun is high in the sky. Bands kicked off at about 10:30 on Saturday and a whole new bunch of fresh faces were arriving at the festival to just enjoy day 2. Saturday saw the likes of the Davidson Brothers with their music revival of the awesome bluegrass roots. Astro Travellers (Brisbane) a jazzy funk filled hip hop group.
Jeff Lang plays a blues slide guitar and had the fans eating out of his hands. Dashville Progress Society, probably one one the biggest highlights of the festival, as this band is made up of a lot of the people that make the Gumball what it is, and being an almost 20 piece band they rip out a few great covers. Citizen Kay(Canberra) is a young hip hop artist that definitely gets the crowd jumping with his catchy modern hip hop hooks. The Break, a instrumental band made up of Australian rock bands Midnight Oil, Violent Femmes, Hunters and Collectors and The Cruel Sea that play a surf rock, psychedelia that will have your eyeballs glued to the stage so hard just so you can keep up with whats going on. Bullhorn, whom took the stage and blew everyone away with their funky horns and the smooth words from Roman MC. And Australian rock royalty You Am I who came out and played a set of classics that everyone knows and loves.Once again it was that time of the night to hit everyone’s favourite silent disco but we used this time to stand around the fire and reflect on what was such a great weekend instead.
The next morning (Sunday) it is time to pack up your belongings, clean up the rubbish that you created and move on. For the people who are feeling a bit dusty though, you can head down to the porch,grab some breakfast and listen to a few chilled bands before hitting the road. Having been to this festival many times before, one of the best things that this place has created is an amazing community of people that come back every year. From the moment you set your camp up and start to walk through the camp grounds you are catching up with the amazing people you met last year or the year before and now that the cat is out of the bag you will need to get your tickets fast from now on. Gumball, once again you have completely out done your selves and it has been amazing to be apart of this community. We will be jumping in early to grab our tickets next year and suggest everybody does the same.
Review - Kurt Mellross