The magic that is Meredith

First appeared in The Moorabool News, December 15 2016

At Meredith Music Festival it’s not unusual to see punters raise a single boot in celebration of a good song or for a group of red-heads to gather at sunset.

The much-loved event has a number of quirky traditions that sees more than 12,000 people return each year.

Held over three days from December 9, this year’s event boasted a line-up of Peaches, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, BadBadNotGood and Jagwar Ma.

The gates opened at 8am on Friday morning, and whether camping on the Freeway of Love or the Highway to Hell, campers rose at the crack of dawn to ensure they claimed the best possible site.

With eight-hours between the opening of the gates and the first set, people had ample time to set up camp, take their couch to the foot of the stage and settle in.

In the final minutes leading up to the first artist, a count-down appeared on the screen that brought the crowd to Melbourne band, Cable Ties.

The upgraded sound-system definitely didn’t disappoint, with the rhythm of the energetic punk band floating throughout the festival site. A few hours later Prince collaborator and instrumentalist, Sheila E and Australian band, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard were commended for their – not surprising – animated performances.

On Saturday morning, the 125-year-old City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band performed their usual morning enactment of old and new hits, which was followed by Brisbane teenagers The Goon Sax and Philadelphia rock band Sheer Mag.

As the sun set in the afternoon, a group of red-haired people met at the dead gumtree located by the stage to uphold a tradition that begun around eight years ago. The ritual invites all red-heads to gather at the dead tree, which in 2004 was painted red.

At around 7:30pm, Ross Wilson from Daddy Cool took to the stage and as he belted out the classic ‘Eagle Rock’, thousands of people began dancing with their pants around their ankles and their boots in the air. The line-up that followed included Japandroids, Peaches, Jagwar Ma, CC:Disco! and Ben UFO.

On Sunday morning, many began packing their bags and making their way towards the exit, however a small collection of brave men and women, all of whom were naked, ended the three days of festivities with the annual Meredith Gift.

Heath Harris, who attended Meredith Music Festival for the tenth consecutive year, said this year’s event was the best one yet.

“The reason this one was different because I think everyone knows what to expect from Meredith these days – beers, good times, friends and a good old party – but this year everyone just went wild; changing everything you know about Meredith”.

Heath first attended the festival back in 2006, at the age of 17. He said he originally came with just one friend, however after a decade of Meredith, his campsite has grown to include around 80 people.

“I guess what makes me come back every year is the happiness it brings me and my friends; the countless laughs, good times and boogies,” he said.

“Meredith is the best place in the entire world and nothing will ever compare to it. They have always had their no dickh**d policy and it really shows”.

Meredith Music Festival is a three-day outdoor event held every December. For more information, visit 558 words