Bello Winter Music Diary

Published: 20th of September 2018

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to become a part of the Bello Winter Music festival line-up. This wonderous annual festival completely takes over the NSW town of Bellingen for a weekend in July. I'd heard heaps of wonderful feedback about the event, and performing there was one of the most exciting things that has happened to me this year!

Day 1: Friday

The night before the festival, I played a gig with Maja & Georgia Rose at The Junk Bar in Brisbane, so couldn’t head down to Bello until the morning of the festival – Friday the 13th of July (nothing spooky happened). Jack & I left Brisbane at 6am that morning, bringing with us the ever-lovely Hannah Cameron, a friend also on the festival bill (check out my blog post from a few weeks ago for a full interview with Hannah). My bass player, Liam, would be meeting us down there. We made sure to stop on the trip down for the necessary tourist shots:

We arrived in Bellingen that afternoon, and headed off to find the house of our billets. We got a bit lost due to my terrible sense of direction, but eventually arrived at their two-story, fully sustainable mud-brick house, about 10 mins out of town. They had built it with their own hands and locally sourced all materials, it was even complete with solar panels and a composting toilet. Music lovers themselves, we had really lovely chats with Julie and Wayne over the weekend.

That evening we played our first gig of the festival at a lovely family run café – many of the event performances are billed around in the local buildings at Bello Winter Music. It went really well (even though our fingers nearly froze off from the cold) and we became very excited for our next two shows, both programmed at bigger venues.

Day 2: Saturday

On Saturday morning we woke up to the absolute serentity that was our accomodation - being situated a bit out of town allowed for such peace. Feeling very inspired, we decided to have a solid practice in the garden that morning.

We headed in to the festival around lunchtime and got to see a whole lot of wonderful acts including: Brian Campeau, Astro Travellers, Loren Kate, Ramblin Ash and Tiana Khasi. That night we played what may have been one of my favourite gigs to date, at 11pm in a church venue called 'Cedar'. Hannah Cameron popped up to sing a few harmonies for my songs, and we had a beautiful listening audience. I felt darn lucky.

Day 3: Sunday

We woke up feeling utterly lovely on Sunday morning, with two gigs down and our last at 4pm that day. We had another garden rehearsal, then left for town. One of the many best things we discovered about Bello was that the festival organisers provide each band with vouchers for the local shops, to save you some money. So that day we had blueberry bagels:

Afterwards we played our final show at the local Brewery, on a stage set up 2 meters above the crowd (?!), which was an amazing playing experience. Finishing the last song and feeling very proud, we packed up and sat down to pizza and ginger beers; basking in the glow of music, happiness, and friends. To top off the festival, that night we caught the wonderful Lior play a intimate set in the town hall.

Day 4: Monday

As is seemingly my festival tradition, we were up early on Monday morning so I could get home in time for teaching. In spite of the hour, Wayne & Julie also woke, and made us each big bowls of porrige, bless them! It was a bittersweet morning, leaving Bellingen after such an inspiring weekend. Thank-you Bello Winter Music festival and all the amazing organisers and volunteers that were involved this year. I very much hope to be back again someday soon!

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