3 Music Festivals 2022

No. 1.....HARTWOOD COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL  

Marcella & Ian plus myself are first to arrive at Hartwood on Thursday 7th April. Sign in is smooth & we are taken to our part of this HUGE property. It is divided into about 12 area's. We are in Naughty Nook. No power but flat ground & good flushing toilets with hand sink plus a dump point & plenty taps with water. Over next couple days Mick, Gary, Kimberley & Phil arrive. We meet Marcella & Ian's friends Christine & Eddie who come for Happy Hour which is enjoyed around a fire. There is very limited service, some can be found near the entrance gate or couple other spots. It is funny seeing people standing in middle of nowhere or near the toilet & talking on there phone.....we say "There is a good spot."

Sunday we wake up to a storm, thunder & lightning plus rain. There is suppose to be a market on at 9.00 am which Marcella will be selling her jewellery.. Word gets around that it is postponed till 2.00 pm. The morning passes with a game of Rummykin. Sun is out & warm, market has about 10 stalls with knitted rugs, cards & whips etc. As it is now hot the Ice Cream van is doing a roaring trade. Marcella sells a few earrings, a good afternoon.

Monday is a gorgeous day so into Coolah for an explore. Naturally morning tea is at the bakery with scrumptious cream cakes. Coolah has a good feel, very friendly & yes has a Op shop. That night camp fire was so good no one wanted to leave it. As the coals were looking good we decided to put some spuds in...Yum. Gary bought out some small frankfurts as an entree, then spuds were ready. Great meal.

Hartwood has 2 stages, small one with a big camp fire for Walk Ups & bigger stage for the main acts. Walk ups start on Tuesday 12th. I was very impressed with Liz B...this elderly lady on a walker climbs the couple steps to the stage...she sings 2 songs & very enjoyable, must say in her younger days she would have been a star. Others were good, some not so good & a couple were painful to listen to. That night around the fire again. Tea is simple with Lasagne, Curry, heated up veggies, toasted sandwich & for Mick apple pie & cream. Gee we eat well.

Next day we take a trip to Coolah Tops National Park. We car pool in 2 cars....I volunteer to take mine...but no.... not taking the Toyota & later I see why. Is very rough in spots. We stop at a Information Bay & start discussing where to first. Mick says "It's 11.00 Morning Tea time."  So we go to Pinnacle Lookout. View is good then see sign to another Pinnacle Lookout. Walk a short distance & WOW the view is magnificent, Also see a couple eagles flying past. Under an archway Kimberley & Phil stop, so Mick says "I'll mary You." Go to Barrack Campground for picnic lunch. Notice a lot of walking tracks are closed. There are a lot of trees down. This is due to a big storm they had late last year & haven't had time to clean it all up. The Grass Tree walk is closed, dissapointing, but a couple campers tell us just down the road is another track which is ok. Heaps of Grass Trees, fabulous. Also see a couple of deer & on way home some goats with their kids...so cute.

Saturday morning sees Poet's Breakfast starting at 7.30. 4 of the 7 members attend. Is cold but so worth it. Walk ups good but the hosts Gary Fogarty & Jack Drake are excellent. Had us laughing so much tears were running down our faces. Then off to main stage for the concert. Artist are good with Vanessa Sanger being our favourite. She even Line Danced with the audience.

Sunday Poet's Breakfast saw full attendance & is as good as yesterday. Today is a full day with concert next, morning & afternoon session. Had us singing, crying & laughing with tears down our faces again. Brian Letton sang "You've Done Us Proud" at the finale on the big stage. So moving, everyone was on their feet. The day finished at the small stage with best walk ups plus Tom Maxwell & Royden Donohue (paid artists). This went till 11.00. We had a Conga Line & requests for songs. Don't think they wanted to leave. Was a great festival.

Next morning sees us packing up & onto next Music Festival...Parkes Elvis Festival. As we pulling away, someone yells out, "You have forgotten your shoes."  Marcella had left them under the van...."That's going in report." I say.  After 10 days free camping we decided to splurge on a night in a caravan park at Peak Hill to wash & shower. Marcella & Ian, Mick & myself go in convoy...Ian leading. We stop at Dundoo for morning tea. Never seen so many caravans there. They have painted 3 sides of the silo now. Excellent. We nominate Mick to lead. He goes while we have to wait for break in traffic. We have no contact with Mick...bet he is racing to get to washing machine. Sure enough we arrive & who has his cloths on line...Mick. Kimberley & Phil are there with Christine & Eddie arriving later. Only 2 machines so we are up early in the morning to do another load. Also that afternoon Christine dyes Marcella'a hair. She does look good now. Call into Peak Hill Gold Mine in morning. Impressive. 

No. 2.......PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL

We arrive at the prooperty at Parkes. Meet Nat the owner. Ground is nice & level. We go into town to buy provisions. Judy & Warren, friends of Marcella & Ian, arrive too. While having happy hour it starts to rain, so we move to biggest awning. Then gets very heavy so call it a night. Few minutes later out  of nowhere strong gust wind comes followed by constant rain & wind. How my awning didn't take off I don't know. Ian comes then goes to get rope which we throw over & tye down. Ian had also helped Judy & Warren who's awning has broken, Mick who's pegs had come out. He is back to van when Marcella gets text from Christine saying they can not open teir door on the van. Ian to the rescue again, their clothsline & chairs had been blown against the door. Storm was over in half an hour. Ian was classed as a Super Hero.

Next day into town with some going to laundromat to wash wet cloths from storm. Was dissapointed as no entertainment & not many Elvis's. Was told doesn't start till tonight at the Speedawy. Phil & Kimberley & Ron arrive at the property. The men get together & fix Warren's awning. A bar had come out.

Next day back into town, couple of buskers & shows at the main stage. Still low key. The Elvis Express train arrives in the arvo & heaps of Elvis arrive plus others dressed up, some strange. I was able to have my selfie with Elvis. 

Friday sees the main street closed. They have set up another small stage & dance floor in middle of the road. Forgot to mention that each morning we went to French Bakery for morning tea. What scrumptious cream cakes. A couple of us had different ones each day, but Mick liked the Baby Paris & Ian couldn't go past the meat pie.The atmosphere is festive & Marcella joins in with red hair.

Saturday is the street parade. We get there early to get front row. Heaps of peole, parade takes 45 minutes & is excellent. So many Elvis's...tall, short, fat, skinny, young, old & different nationalities. Cars & Kombies too. Concert in Cooke Park is great. Dance floor is full with Rock & Roll dancers plus Line Dancers. Great family atmosphere. Amitee is our favourite act. Girl group that sings Motown & music of the 50 & 60's. So good.

Sunday sees things winding down, main street is now open....remember don't walk on to road without looking....There is a car museum with tiny racing cars. The man says "Hop in" well you don't have to ask me twice. Was a squeeze, so low to the ground. We do a bit of shopping in the arvo then head back to camp. Each night we have a fire but tonight we are lighting Nat's creation....The Rocket or Tin Man. We sit around & discuss what a good family festival it was but as next year Elvis Festival is back to January none of us will be back.

In the morning we pack up Kimberley & Phil & Ron are going straight to Weethalle. Marcella & Ian, Mick & myself are going via Grenfell. Hopefully has a laundromat. Christine & Eddie are going to caravan park at West Wylong to catch up on domestics, then meet us at Weethalle. The free camp at Grenfell is fantastic. Has GREEN GRASS....forgot to mention other places we stayed had stubbly thick stems of grass. Ouch on feet with thongs. Also huge shower, toilets, BBQ & walking distance to town. Town is having magor road works & half the street is closed. No Laundromat but a laundry, being Anzac Day it is closed. On arriving back at camp friends of Marcella & Ian arrive. They live in Grenfell & came to say hello. Over morning tea Wendy & Brian invite us all to tea at their place. Also, as they are caravaners, know how difficult it can be to wash so says "Bring your dirty clothes". What nice country people. They come back a few hours later & take us for a drive around the area. It is such a lovely country town. Drop us back at camp then at 6.00 come & pick us up to go for tea. Saves us unhooking our vans. For tea we have melt in your mouth slow cooked lamb & vegetables. Beautiful vegetables, been a while since have veggys. Was a great night & yes I did my laundry too. Such nice people.

Next day to West Wylong to meet up with Christine & Eddie for a coffee & of course cream cake. West Wylong is quite large & has a big Vinnies with a lovely lady serving. Marcella is given 5 minutes to shop.....we all go in. Time is ticking & everyone is trying cloths on....think this is going to be a long 5 minutes. I patiiently wait....great they have taken purchases to counter. Then I spot assistant carrying a grey jacket, I ask to look at it, try it on & perfect fit...Sold. Finally we leave all with a purchase.

3.....WEETHALLE COUNTRY MUSIC MUSTER

We arrive at Weethalle where Kimberley & Phil, Ron, Mick, Sue & Trevor & Gary are set up. Marcella & Ian & myself are placed near the old sheep shearing sheds. Val arrives later that afternoon & the boys help her put up her tent. Later we have a great happy hour around a warm fire. During the night the wind starts with constant rain. Upon waken in morning Val's gazeebo has been pulled down & she has set up under Ron's awning. Luckily her tent is intact.

As it is freezing, windy & raining the Walk Ups are cancelled for the morning. Ian cleans the shearing shed & we all migrate there for morning tea. Afterwards some go back to vans to read, crochet & some stay in shed & play cards & Rummy O. Walk ups are on in afternoon but we stay warm in our vans. Come 6 o'clock I see Mick going to the shed "Are we having a Happy Hour ?" I'm in, I text others...we end up 6 of us in shed having chat & drink. Not sure if we brave or stupid.

Thursday we awake to no rain but cool. Most of us go for walk up to town. The pub is now closed & up for sale.  Cafe Fat Bob, produce store & post office only shops open. Sad to see Weethalle a ghost town. We have decided to have a "Cook Up" for tea. Sue & Trevor plus Kimberkey & Phil have Dream Pot & Camp Ovens. We all see what food we have to contribute...1/2 can tomatoes, pumkin, carrot, potatoes, chook & mince. Menu will be Chicken Soup, Pumkin Soup. Main meal Meat Balls & Pasta Sauce. Potatoes in foil done in hot coals. We all help where can but a big THANK YOU goes to Sue & Trev, Kimberley & Phil who do major work. The meal is absolutely scrumptious, eating together around the fire. Kimberley also had couple bread rolls left over & turned them into delicious Garlic Bread. What a feast we had...YUMMY

Next day sunny & warm. We watch some of the Walk Ups. Later that afternoon Ron (Champion from last year) & Phil enter the Camp Oven Dampier Competition in the Savoury section. There is 9 teams in all. There is large fire with hot coals. Teams start digging holes & placing coals in then their empty camp ovens. Our team just puts lid in. Mixing starts, kneeding & placing in camp oven on coals. Our team still kneeding while everyone else has there's in the coals. "What are they doing, needs to be in now, why arn't they heating the pot." Our members are saying. The boys just do at their own pace, they look relaxed, finally in pot & on fire..Whew...Now wait. Others are testing dampiers, pulling out & wrapping in foil then on judging table. Boys are just standing...waiting. Finally they pull dampier out. Judging has begun. There is 2 in our section......YAH...They win..... Congradulations Ron & Phil. Dampier has olives & fetta cheese in it & is delicious. That night go & watch concert. Is very good but very cold.

Next day starts drizzle & cold then sun comes out to a beautiful day. That night a couple go to concert rest stay around fire. We can still hear the music. Following morning is Poet's Breakfast....once again this is fun & enjoyable. That morning is markets in town. The Devonshire Tea from The Whistle Stop is good. They have old train carriages to eat in. Concert finishes in afternoon with finale song "You're Done Us Proud." Very moving. Last night around fire, it is freeing too.

I wake up to ice on my windscreen..Brrrrr We all pack up & say our good byes' Ian goes to start car...No go.  Ron to the rescue with his car & jumper leads. All in all the 3 Music Festival were different & very enjoyable. Good company too. Great trip.

Report By Bev