For the kid and I, there is really nothing that compares to the fun of heading to a festival. It’s not even just the draw of the artists on stage. It’s about where we stay; it’s about the loud singing in the car and what other craziness we can fit in around work while we are there. While every trip has its own special charm, this one the stars seemed to align.
Under the Southern Stars, a brand new, family-friendly summer festival was playing in Tuncurry, on the first Saturday in January. The site at Harry Elliot Oval in Tuncurry was only 30 minutes from accommodation I had been itching to stay at for over a year - The Boogie Woogie Beach House at Old Bar.
Given that our own home is music themed, I was keen to see what the owners had done with this gorgeous space as the website seemed like a music lover’s utopia. The building has a long history dating back more than 100 years serving as everything from a Jazz Hall to a place for Sunday service. The locals tell me it’s most recent incarnation had been backpackers accommodation.
The memory of holidays as a kid in sleepy little beachside towns up and down the coast in the kombi with my mum was flowing through my mind as we were greeted by the owner of the venue, Steven. We quickly got chatting about work as he showed us through the stunning accommodation. With five music-themed rooms on offer (and four more currently being renovated).
The bathrooms are the first thing that draws you in with the likes of Bowie, Dave Grohl, and a whole wall of mixtapes, it was as I had expected and more. We stayed in the Blondie Suite, which is just as lush as it sounds. Stunning black and white striped wallpaper in the hall and lush black Italian made tiles with Debbie Harry’s face staring at you from a huge shower and gold bath. The massive king size bed and to top it all off the room comes with its own spotlight. As an added bonus for someone who loves vinyl, a record player in every room and a library of albums in the adjoining hallways.
Even though we were short on time I wasn’t going to miss out on time at Old Bar Beach only 100 metres from our front door. The Kid wanted to go further into the waves with a firm grip on my hand. Eventually, she got brave and did it on her own. It felt like a metaphor of things to come as she grows into this amazing little human.
Above: Jimmy Barnes. Images - Swamp House Photography
The next morning, It was off to work. The buzz of the site just before gates open is always my favourite part. Everyone has worked hard for months and now here we are. The best of the best took the stage during the day. Watching Ash Grunwald walk out alone with nothing but a guitar and own the stage, being able to see Richard Clapton belt out Girls on the Avenue live, watching Diesel be unbelievable. We really are spoilt for talent in this country.
Richie Sambora and Orianthi took the stage, and I had to race to the site office to get something for another artist. Still able to hear clearly but away from the crowd. The kid and I were headed backstage but with a whole open field beside us. The air suddenly filled with the distinctive opening notes of Living on a Prayer. I looked down at the kid and smiled. We ran out into the open field and danced our little hearts out alone on the grass. This mother-daughter moment was perfect.
Then it was time for the final act. Jimmy Barnes and his family took the stage. They knocked it out of the park the way they always do. As I watch from the pit with my own little one in my arms, it struck me how blessed you are if you are able to do something you love, with people you love. With plans already in place for Under the Southern Stars 2019 already underway, we are preparing to make this an annual trip. You should join us!