Fiddlers Festival 2006

From left to right in the foreground: Me and Hans Visser.

Left fairly late due to still recovering from the late Bruthen Blues night.

On the way to the festival, I stopped at another festival: The Jindavick Chilli Festival for lunch. As I rode into Neerim South I spotted the sign for the Chilli Festival and decided that I was going to have lunch there. I turned left and thereafter started another navigational challenge: Just exactly where is the festival? I passed the festival site as the signs on display just didn't seem right. Yes there were signs up pushing tasting, etc, but no words saying 'FESTIVAL'!

I arrived at Jindavick and checked out all of the main roads into and out of the town. The result? No signs pushing the festival. What's going on?
The sign at Neerim South also pushed "Jak's", a restaurant. I went in and asked for directions to the Chilli Festival. A few stunned looks and a half hearted direction "It's back towards Nerrim South. On a corner". Good enough, it must have been where I saw the signs NOT pushing the festival.

Rode back and followed the dirt road for a short time to find a field with cars galore and people directing traffic. I was told to follow the left side and park where the other bikes were parked.

Quite amazing really, from the main road there was no way you would have known how many people were in attendance, and let me tell you there were lots and lots of people.

The entry fee of $15 hurt a little, I was just after lunch. I wasn't going to be that long.

When I finally reached the business side of the festival, I found a large square where vendors where placed along the periphery. Food (mainly Mexican), wine, beer, cheese and musical entertainment.

I wasn't planning on staying long, so after I escaped the plaintive calls of a boy scout the enter the raffle, I went to the very first food stall and ordered a Burrito, $7. I asked for Jalipinos but was told they have run out! Huh? I settled for the hot sauce. I waited a short time and was happily munching on lunch.

I walked around and was quite surprised as to the amount of people and vendors present. Clearly I had waited way to late in the festival and supplies were running out. The cheese stall had only crumbs left. The wine stall didn't have Riesling. Am I too fussy?

A 'Salsa' band were doing a sound check ready for their set. Sadly I didn't have time to hear them, but there sure were a lot of them.

Back in the saddle, I head off for the Fiddlers Festival. Another navigational exercise. This event isn't publicly advertised, it's propagated by word of mouth. Grr, no signs anywhere. I had been to the festival quite a few years ago, but not much looked familiar. After two or three passes of the town I I finally stopped at the Police Station to ask for directions only to find them closed. I walked across the road to a Hotel and was rather hastily recognise by Mick from the 'Hard Drive' band. Thank goodness for Mick, without his assistance I would never have found the festival.

Mick's directions were quite accurate and I was at the festival. I parked close by the 'main stage' and started doing a search loop to find Hans Visser: A friendly contact. On the main stage and American couple were performing and doing a great job entertaining the masses. I spotted a few people that I sort of knew in Bluegrass circles but didn't receive any 'eye contact'. I finally found a person who knew where Hans was camped and was guided to his campsite. I would never have found it. Again it was the end of the festival and things were winding down. Lots of people leaving.

Hans and his wife were quite relaxed and had obviously had had a great time. We made our way back and set up a little circle where we started playing. Pretty soon we had about ten people joining in, very nice. We all took turns in leading a song.

I had to leave around 5:30, so I really wasn't there to get a good dose of the festival, but I had a much better experience thanks to Hans.

Phew, quite a long weekend festival wise, but I'm glad I made the effort.