MULLUM Music Festival delivered one of its best nights in 10 years of the event, with an opening show that offered a number of stunning performances.

Meant to be only the equivalent of a tapas night of brief music teasers to entice people to attend over the weekend, the sold-out event was a feast of high calibre music.

I got to Mullumbimby on Mullum time (about half an hour late, but who's counting) and I 'manifest' a parking spot near one of the pubs.

As MC Mandy Nolan explained to the audience last night at the Civic Hall, "In Mullum, if you cannot 'manifest' a parking spot then you are not one of us and you can eff off!"

I walked to the venue and was greeted by volunteers at the door dressed on the mandatory steampunk style that is the signature of town folk.

I smile and offer a 3.5-minute Mullum hug to each, as it is, again, customary. My chakras, by now, are completely aligned.

Mullum Music Festival is one those rare gigs when you can be transfixed by the music of a single artist and then you are queuing right behind them to buy a gluten-free lasagne 30 minutes later.

There is no VIP treatment, the backstage is minimal and, to be honest, all the cool cats meet up in the smokers area, or vapers area, to be more 2017.


Irish singer Wallis Bird at the 2017 Mullum Music Festival opening night.
Irish singer Wallis Bird at the 2017 Mullum Music Festival opening night. Javier Encalada

The music

Irish songstress Wallis Bird made the stage shake, literally, with her stomping and punk-meets-heart-of-gold voice.

Bird sounds great on record, but live she is unstoppable, it is impossible to walk away from a live gig by this memorable artist.

Another highlights of the night were Canadian Country singer Lindi Ortega, Victorian harmonies awesome foursome All Our Exes Live in Texas and local percussion grandmaster Greg Sheehan.

A special moment was the meeting on stage of musicians Greg Sheehan, Fiji's Skillz, Mama Kin, Suzannah Espie and Harry Angus James.

But it was The Teskey Brothers, the young Australian soul and blues quartet, who took the music to a glorious ending with a set that got hippies, baby boomers and music lovers ready for more this weekend.

For Cups' Sake

This year, the festival has partnered with Stone and Wood on a project called For Cups' Sake, or in Millennial's language, #forcupssake.

It means that when you buy a drink, you can also 'buy' a plastic cup for $6 and then you must carry that cup until next time you require a beverage.

A new fresh cup is given to festival goers at the new bar, one of the initiatives to make this festival the one with the smallest environmental footprint in the country.

I find myself feeling like the nanny of an annoying plastic cup that did not fit anywhere. And I have kids to feel that way. I still ended the night with the cup in my hand and I feel good about myself.

Director Andrew Swain (centre, holding a dog) with most of Dustyesky's Choir.
Director Andrew Swain (centre, holding a dog) with most of Dustyesky's Choir. Contributed

Red beer for the Russian choir

Another unintended consequence of Mullum Music festival is Dustyesky.

The 28-piece all male choir started as a Mullum version of a Men's Shed, men from the area met to drink beer and sing traditional folk Russian and Red Army songs.

Rumour has it that the main requirement to be part of the choir is to have been raised by wolves in Main Arm, but nobody would confirm or deny it.

Three seasons later, Dustyesky is celebrating the Socceroos' classification to the 2018 Soccer World Cup in Russia with a special Red Russian Beer brewed by Stone and Wood specially for this festival.

After a massive year, when the choir has been performing across the country and has been profiled in Russian TV news and variety programs, the Dustyesky Pilot Batch is a red beer that is said to contain beetroot and cucumbers.

As soon as the elements were certified organic and gluten free, the red beer became the drink of choice of many at the opening night of Mullum Music Festival 2017.

The festival continues today and until Sunday at a number of venues in Mullumbimby, with a big and free Music Parade starting from the Council Chambers in the CBD at 11am on Sunday.

For details visit

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