BACK IN TOWN: Bob Hopkins is honorary guest speaker at this year's Mardi Grass.
BACK IN TOWN: Bob Hopkins is honorary guest speaker at this year's Mardi Grass. Marc Stapelberg

MardiGrass to reflect on 25 year history

MARDIGRASS honorary guest speaker Bob Hopkins played a giant tuba at the very first MardiGrass 25 years ago.

After speaking out against drug laws at a public meeting Mr Hopkins said he hung a huge banner outside the building now called the Hemp Embassy stating 'Legalise Marijuana'.

A week later the banner disappeared.

A friend of Mr Hopkins' son told Mr Hopkins that his dad took the banner and burnt it.

"People were afraid to stand up, and there was an atmosphere of fear," Mr Hopkins said.

Mr Hopkins said from these humble beginnings the first semblance of MardiGrass started to emerge and it would take another five years before it resembled anything near the scale of today's festivities.

"We started with 70 people and had some drums and planned to march to the police station," Mr Hopkins said.

"I could only get one other person to speak," he said.

"We noticed people come into town and join the march.

"There was a palpable air of liberation.

"People broke the fear.

"I'm in awe of this village."

Mr Hopkins will also be at the showgrounds welcoming backpackers to the festival and said he marvelled at the change of attitude towards the festival over the years.

 

 

 

 

Hemp Embassy President Michael Balderstone said everything was on track for this year and he expects a big crowd with all the attention cannabis has been getting over the last year.

He wanted to emphasise to people to purchase fuel before coming into Nimbin as the servo in town was still not operational after recent restoration works. "There is absolutely no petrol here," Mr Balderstone said.

"For sure a lot of drivers will get stuck here."

Nimbin MardiGrass runs from May 5-7 and includes the Hemposium, Hemp Olympics, Tug O'Peace and a major march through town.



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