Mullumbimby Music Festival 'low key and unpretentious'
THERE are not many festivals which can promise all the musical spontaneity in the world with the least amount of hype - but that rare quality sums up the Mullumbimby Music Festival in a nutshell.
Festival director Glenn Wright hailed the "low key, unpretentious" nature of the festival and its focus on acts that are "big on credibility and substance" as key to its enduring success at a time when many smaller festivals are struggling.
"It was described to me as the town becomes one big lounge room," Mr Wright said.
"We don't have any VIP areas at the festival, so the artists hang out in town and it really makes for an intimate festival… (they) come and immerse themselves in the town for three and four days.
"What's good are the old acts who have been here many times, they know exactly what the festival is about and really get into the spirit of it."
The town of Mullumbimby with its streets and diverse venues - from the intimate bowlo club and retro RSL to the grand Civic Hall - play a key role in that vibe.
Eight years of festivals
Now in its eighth year, this weekend's festival has again utilised the town to create spaces for things to happen spontaneously.
This year there's a "secret" piano bar where visitors can go to relax and hear spontaneous sessions by Cat Empire pianist Ollie McGill and guests.
Another new feature takes advantage of Mullum's ecological-bent, with a program called Mullum Seed providing tours of the community gardens, bush food tips, permaculture "blitzes", and an eco-forum.
Of course it is the diverse roster of performers who are the official stars of the festival. And this year it's a well and truly global line-up.
These include headliner Ron Sexsmith and singer songwriter Jenn Grant from Canada, to the UK's Ben Ottewell, the Californian Honey Drops, New Zealand roots and reggae acts Trinity Roots and Cornerstone Roots, to experimental German pianist Hauschka, and Kenyan native (now Melbourne resident) Lois Majiwa, to name just a few.
Locals as well
Their overseas status however won't outshine brilliant locals such as legend Robert Forster founder of The Go-Betweens, Montaigne, festival patron Harry Angus, and festival veterans Tinpan Orange.
Mr Wright said tickets for Thursday's opening night had already sold out, and with tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday selling fast, pre-booking online was recommended.
MULLUM MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016
WHEN: Opening night this Thursday Nov 19 from 6pm - Sunday Nov 22
TICKETS: Book online at http://www.mullummusicfestival.com