God, it’s exciting descending on a town you’ve never been to before full of pre-festival jitters. It’s been so long since my last one, I’d forgotten what it’s like; walking up to the gates surrounded by people in lots of weird and wacky get-up, all itching to let the fun begin.
There was something just a little different about this musical spectacular, though. We were in Dungog for Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road festival and it just so happened to coincide with an absolute scorcher of a day. Not a cloud in the sky, nor a drop of moisture in the earth and a balmy 38 degrees celsius all around.
Instead of walking into an arena full of bearded hipsters jostling for poll position in front of the stage they were all huddled quietly under trees. It was all very unexpected and very odd.
A sort of mollified silence had descended on the festival as people battled it out for what little shade there was. In a flash I was taken back to my days growing up on the farm, when I’d drive past a dusty paddock on a stinking hot day and see a cotton wool ball of sheep gathered under a eucalyptus.
Then, slowly, as the sun became less ferocious, the festival spirit started to wake from its slumber. The chatter became louder, the dancing more spirited and then, at the end of the day, this happened…