On the 8th – 11th of June this year, 5 of us Cigány Weaver gypsies set off to musically conquer the slopes of Perisher Valley, NSW. We had been invited to perform at the 10th Annual Peak Festival which is held literally at the snow – what?!
Day 1: Friday
I had conned my partner Sam into coming with us, so we caught a flight together to Canberra on Friday morning, picked up a rental car and began the beautiful drive to Perisher. After 2.5 hours, we finally got to the Skitube terminal, where you leave your car and catch a train up to the slopes. Cold and damp from the ride, we then trudged further uphill to catch a shuttle which would finally bring us to our long-awaited mountain accommodation, the Sundeck Hotel.
As soon as we walked through the doors we were filled to the brim with warmth and friendliness, and I knew we were in for a lovely weekend. Wandering around the halls of the hotel was so reminiscent of 'The Shining' that I had to stop myself from imagining freaky twins around every corner. I say that in literally the best way possible, the lodge had such a unique quintessential character to it. Once we were settled in, we had a yummy dinner with red wine, and performed our slot at 11pm to a beautiful crowd x
Day 2: Saturday
The next morning, I woke up and remembered that I had nowhere I needed to be, so I burrito-ed straight back under those covers. Alas, I eventually had to face the music (literally hehe) and got up to get breakfast and check out the festival in full swing. Upon leaving the hotel we had our first snow encounter!
We had two more gigs that afternoon, and both seemed to go down a treat! To celebrate, lots of hot apple cider was drunk, and a snow man was made:
That day we also had time to check out some of the other rad acts on the festival bill: Lizzie Flynn & The Reckoning, Hot Potato Band, Nomika, The Barleyshakes, Zumpa, Matt Glass & The Loose Canons, and Sallynoggin.
Day 3: Sunday
We had our last gig at 10am on the Sunday morning, and Sundeck put on a damn fine breakfast. Fed and watered, we walked over to the venue, already feeling bittersweet that the festival had gone by too quickly. Upon arrival, we had one man call us the ‘best in snow’; a pun which literally made my weekend. The show went great and we sold the last of our CDs. We are so so lucky to do this with our lives.
We had lunch and then it was time to try out our snowboarding skilz. I'd only ever boarded once before, but thankfully I picked it up again relatively quickly and even did this sweeeet jump.
After that, the rest of the band had a go, to varying degrees of success, then we headed back to Sundeck. Our last night was spent drinking red wine, sitting by the fireplace, watching a violin vs saxophone battle and listening to Balkan Elvis sing 'Hound Dog'.
Day 4: Monday
Sam, Rory & I had work on Monday afternoon, so it was a quick return to reality the next morning. We had to get the 6:40am train back down the valley to our rental car, to ensure we could get our flight at Canberra airport. It takes about 20mins to walk from Sundeck to the Terminal, and Sam & I woke up at 6:20am... I have never dressed so fast in my life. If anyone in Perisher was awake at 6:30am the morning of the 11th of June, they would have spotted three very frenzied looking people racing down the slopes of Perisher with three suitcases, two backpacks, a guitar and a snowboard. At least the view was nice:
Somehow, we made it with a minute to spare (after accidentally running directly through the snow machine spray on full blast), and sat together on the train with a mix of exhilaration, exhaustion and damp hair. At the other end we packed up the car, drove back to Canberra Airport, and flew home.
This was such a memorable and lovely trip, spent with Sam and some of my best friends. It was filled with music and laughter and snow. Perisher Peak Festival, you are amazing.