Tag Archives: Canberra


It has been one hell of a weekend.

I spent it out at Corinbank. A music festival unlike any other.

Not only was I an avid punter keen to see You Am I, Urthboy and Clare Bowditch, I was also a ‘Corinteer’. I put my name down to volunteer at the event late last year assuming that I would have little chance of actually doing it. Not only did I get a chance to volunteer, I was assigned to the Rangers & Communication team which involves roaming the site, checking everything is churning along okr and generally being the eyes and ears on the ground for the organisers and comms team.

Disappointingly I have not been to that many festivals, and never a multi-day camp-out festival. Splendour, Falls, Woodford.. I haven’t been to any of them. I realise that is a major failing on my part. So with the chance to go to a 3 day festival in my own backyard, how could I not go?

I pitched my tent on Friday and we were shown around the site by the managing director of the festival. With very few people around I was finding it hard to imagine what it’d be like with thousands of people arriving over the next day or so. There are 2 main stages at either end of the large Corin Forest site with a snake like trail of creative campsites, stalls, workshops and small stages along the way.

Creative campsites is an initiative to let the public contribute their own ideas to the festival. People could create their own little site or stall in exchange for discounted tickets. There was an advice tent, a hacky sack site, artistic stalls, a letter writing area (I haven’t heard a typewriter in years!), twister, solar powered ovens and shitloads more. This area was pumping during the days on Saturday and Sunday. Always something going on.

At the far end of the snake lies the Gibraltar Grove stage. Nestled in amongst the forest is a wooden stage that almost feels like it grew there. This stage is where I would go on to discover such musical gems as Alice Cottee, Anarchist Duck, Space Party and the Ellis Collective. The natural ampitheatre surrounded by giant gums was the perfect backdrop to beautiful music.

I was also informed that the angle of the stage is perfectly aligned with the Mt. Ainslie to Parliament House axis. Google Maps seems to back this up:

Very cool!

The main action of the weekend occurs down at the main ‘Billy Billy’ stage. Food, clothing, art, ‘happy herb’ and massage stalls dot the area. This whole area is shadowed by spectacularly angled gum trees. You can’t look anywhere over the weekend without seeing nature which is what makes this festival feel so special.

The festival is very focussed on the creed of ‘leave no waste’. To support this there are bins located everywhere with the standard recycling and general waste bins but also with compost bins into which all plates, cutlery and even plastic bio-degradable beer cups can be tossed. The message obviously works as I saw barely any trash on the ground throughout the weekend. People are obviously conscious of the fact that they are responsible for their own waste. It’s great to see.

During a couple of my shifts I worked with the ‘Rat Patrol’ who are in charge of  waste for the festival. Filled bins are swapped with empty ones and dumped into 1 of 2 skip bins, or a compost pile. Proof of the compost option are evident with a compost garden grown from the previous years pile. I hope my home compost will actually become useful one of these days.

This team does an amazing job at keeping the site clean. No overflowing bins at all and with the sheer number of bins this is not an easy feat. I am hugely impressed with the effort these guys put in. I did a 3 hr shift on the Rat Patrol and I was absolutely buggered. Some sort of wheelie-bin-towing-bike will definitely have to be invented!

At the core of this festival is a team of passionate people that invest a massive amount of time, effort, sweat and love into making it happen. I was glad to be able to contribute a tiny amount of my time to helping it happen this year, but these guys live and breathe the festival for most of the year. The positive vibe and smiling faces of people are the payback for all the hard work. More than one artist commented on the positivity of the crowd and Tim Rogers (of You Am I) made mention that usually he deals with objects being thrown at him as well as aggro’d up bone-heads in the crowd rather than smiling faces.

Overall the pace of the weekend is languid at best, possibly contributed by the distinct smell in the air. I think the fastest I saw anyone move was when a short sharp thunder storm hit during Clare Bowditch’s set. Whilst hundreds huddled under the beer tent, dozens more danced away in the rain. Bowditch made a comment that watching people dancing in the rain like that will stay in her memory for a long time.

Her set was fanastic. She showed off a new single from the upcoming album, and pulled out some oldies which had the crowd singing along.

You Am I seemed to play a fairly diverse set. Whilst they inevitably rolled out the obvious  favourites ‘Rumble’, ‘Berlin Chair’ and ‘Cathy’s Clown’, they played a bunch of tracks that I don’t think the crowd recognised including a few off their 2008 album that received very little airplay.

The musical highlight of the weekend for me was Urthboy’s performance on the Saturday night. Being a long time ‘Herd’ fan I was keen to see both Urthboy and Ozi Batla (Astronomy Class) doing their things separately. As a bonus we got Hermitude on the decks as well, often jumping on stage with Urthboy and Jane Tyrrell. Man, did they look like they were having fun. He was just non-stop for the whole hour and belted out his hits and heaps of other top stuff from his 3 albums. I was front row for the set and looking back, I could see how pumped the crowd were. Urthboy obviously noticed as well as he jumped (well, stepped off the stage and walked) into the crowd for the last song. The vibe was awesome!

Whilst the music was a major reason people were there, I think it’s the festival as a whole that pulls people out to the bush for a few days. There’s a definite community feel to the place. You see familiar faces all weekend and by the Sunday night you feel like everyone’s your friend.

For me personally I went to the festival by myself and only knew about 3 or 4 other people going. I pitched a tent by myself. I usually ate by myself and I generally walked around by myself, but everytime I sat down at a performance or a table to eat I managed to strike up a convo with someone and got to hear some great stories and chat about the festival.

Being a ‘Corinteer’ I met some really great fellow volunteers as well as getting to hang with some of the organisers on the Sunday night. For me this was a huge highlight as I got to see some of what makes a festival like this tick and to share in the passion of creating something that thousands of people enjoy.

I think it’s awesome that someone could sit down and go, “I’m going to start a festival”. You’ve gotta have guts and a buttload of talent and help to pull it off successfully. Dan and his team have pulled off 3 years of Corinbank and it doesn’t look like stopping in a hurry. This make me damn happy cause it means I’ll get to do it all again next year!

Craigslist Comes To Canberra!

It’s an everyday site for millions of a Americans, but most Australians have never heard of it.

Craigslist was started by a guy named Craig (funny that) and was originally utilised as a way to promote local events in San Francisco. Fast Forward 13 years and it is the 56th most popular Web Site in the world.

There are books, movies and court cases that have come from it.

And now it’s Canberra’s turn!

Yes! Craigslist comes to Canberra!

Enjoy your Strictly Platonic, Missed Connections and Casual Encounters.

Don’t forget to advertise your couches, and bikes!

You can even find jobs, classes, pets, jokes and pretty much anything.

The beauty of craigslist is the simplicity, the speed and the community feel that it has. I loved using it in DC for meeting people, but it’s widely used for selling stuff and just generally finding like-minded people.

As long as it is used, it is a great tool.

So get out there and USE it. It might just work 🙂

Lest we Forget…

I nearly lost a child today.

But let me go backwards a little.

I have had the kids stay over this week for school holidays.

It’s been great, but I must admit I have been a little worn out by them. Also, I’m glad my ears are already ringing because the squeals are loud enough to smash glass.

We’ve watched movies, gone shopping, played interesting games of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where I am Master Splinter (the rat).

Then, this morning we planned to see the balloons, which meant dragging my sorry, tired, butt out of bed at 6am and trying to decide whether or not to wake the kids and head out into the 8 degree morning (balmy for this time of year!).

The ear piercing alarm from my daughters alarm clock made my mind up for me as the kids launched out of bed and got dressed in many layers.

We scored a sweet park right next to the lawns of Old Parliament House and then went and checked them all out…

Mmm…the heat from the flame warms us up…

The eyes on this thing freaked me out a little…

This Kookaburra was the pick of the balloons this morning. I think there will be more on the weekend.

The obligatory reflection shot worked well…

He doesn’t even have to pose and he takes a good pic…

They were having a good time and then we decided to head off to the car and then grab some Macca’s for breakfast…

I walked my eldest son across the road, and then my 9 yr old daughter had my 4 yr old sons hand and were on the other side of the road. All of a sudden, he decides to pull out of her hand and run across the road. I noticed a car heading down the road from the left and I yelled out to him. I was about to run out to get him when a car screamed past from the right, in between me and my boy. I swear this car must have been going over 40kph and was within a metre of hitting both me and my son.

He ended up standing in the middle of the road as these 2 cars went around him.

it was crazy. it was so sudden and it scared the shit out of all of us. My daughter took it worst of all as she felt responsble for him, but it was not her fault at all. He just pulled out of her hand to run to  me.

The ride to Macca’s was a quiet one except for me stressing to the boy to be MUCH more careful when crossing and to always hold a hand. Stuff that he already knows.

Besides that, we went to the War Memorial this arvo and the kids had a great time in the Discovery Zone and looking at the dioramas.

After a long long day they hit the hay early. I think I need it too as I’m supposed to be going to work tomorrow.

Gah…why did I do that?

Big weekend coming up as well!

The Drop Bears have 2 gigs this weekend.

Friday night at the Holy Grail in Kingston and Saturday at the Tuggies Club (Vikings) in Erindale.

LaLa will also be in town which is great. I think we’ve opted out of hitting the balloons again this year though 🙂

Hope you have a good ANZAC Weekend.

And here’s hoping my son doesn’t forget how to cross a road…

Leap Day!

It only happens once every four years.

But so does the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup and cleaning out my ears.

It’s also a bloody freezing day here. (7 degrees overnight)

That’s the problem with Canberra. As soon as she gets a whiff that Summer is over, the frosts roll in.

Hopefully this is a one off for now though as next week looks ok:

Monday   : Fine, sunny.             Min: 9    Max: 26

Tuesday  : Fine, mostly sunny.      Min: 11    Max: 27

Wednesday: Fine, mostly sunny.      Min: 11    Max: 26

Thursday : Fine, mostly sunny.      Min: 11    Max: 26

It’s also a 1 in 4 years chance to see The Drop Bears live at the Holy Grail in Kingston on Leap Day!

We’ve been jamming a few new songs, so it should go off tonight.

I am convinced that while I am singing ‘Long Road To Ruin’ I am channeling Dave Grohl.


Oooh….only 2 months till I see him and the Fooeys live again…


So…any girls proposing to their guys today?

Ha…although LaLa made a good point. She thinks that you’d miss out on a ring if the woman proposes.

Apparently if a guy declines a proposal on Leap Day, they must pay a FINE. “(Back in the 1200s the fine ranged from a kiss, to 1 pound, to a silk dress. Most gents are probably wishing it would work the other way around too!)”

How’s that for pressure??

Personally, I don’t think it should always be left to the male to propose anyway. I mean, why should a guy be left with such a big decision?

Mind you, if the woman nags hints enough, then I guess it’s not really the guys decision anyway…


Mo No More!

Well, it’s the first day of summer.

Not that you can tell around here.

We had a BIG BIG storm last night and LOTS of rain fell. I had to drive through a huge puddle in the middle of Northbourne Avenue on the way to my gig last night.

Poor ol’ Elton’s fans were just saturated, but impressively the trooper played for over 3 hours in torrential rain

It’s so great to see the rain though. November seems to have been pretty good for rainfall, and hopefully some of it landed in the catchments.

(Apparently it did.  47mm fell in Kingston and 68mm fell at Googong Dam)

Well, November, or as it has been known, MOvember has come to an end, and I’m guessing all those dodgy mo’s will be hastily shaved off today.

Mine was coming along nicely, but I am happy to get rid of the slug under my nose.

Mo Shave Off

Going. Going. Gone!

The gig went pretty well last night. The crowd was up and down. It seems that our 3rd and best set is the one that really gets the audience going and by the 4th set there’s mostly just drunken yobs around. But as long as they aren’t falling onto the stage (like last night) they are usually fine.

Another gig tonight at the Vikings Club in Erindale. This will be a lot quieter than last night. My ears will thank me!