Red Deer festival
14 October 2017
Rainy festivals are always polarizing – either a mood enhancer of a mood buster. Fortunately this years’ Red Deer festival was more former than latter- with the ever-present threat of rain it was marvelous! Nestled among dairy hills on private property in Mt Samson just 25 kilometers out of Brisbane, Red Deer has been running for about 8 years now.
Started by a group of friends who just wanted to have a night of great music it has grown to, well, a larger version of friends enjoying music in a party atmosphere. One wonders what you have to do to be titled a festival because Red Deer has always been more of a private party for strangers. The festival has its own time-honored rituals and everyone seems to know what to do.
There were dress up themes, art installations, fashions on the field, and even a sack race (I thought when I saw sack race on the bill that it was a band but it was actually a sack race!!…Oops) Of note was the “un-festival like” absence of armies of security and hoards of cops. There were a few, but not many – a couple in fact. This all laid proof to the fact that anarchy has a “water in the you tube effect” because everyone was self governing, self drinking, self public smoking, self place your couch and esky wherever you want and no one will die…. in fact all look like they had fun and we didn’t have to hold a WHS assessment to do it…. and yes no one died, It’s what used to happen at festivals so ask your grandparents about it someday.
Some early acts didn’t get to start due to the rain and a few safety aspects (we are in QLD after all) but the re-start came with Mayhem for Mary. Even though the fog still covered the mountains Mayhem for Mary gave it their all to get people in the groove quickly, The Irish trio of bass drums and vocals had a dancer that made the set seem like a Hawkwind set but she kept her clothes on. They punched out their hard funk tunes while flaunting flamboyant space travel costumes (which appears to be the dress up theme of the event).
From here on in the talent lineup got back on schedule. The variety of talent on offer was huge. The diminutive Leanne Tennant wooed the crowd with her sexy Patsy Klein set and Alex and Bec Crooke were quite the surprise- this country duo displayed a fantastic set of great modern original country music. The crowd really enjoyed it.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, hula-hoops were distributed to all who wanted them and the front of stage became a giant circus ground for the next 20 minutes. Lamalo hit the boards next, they the grooves, but seemed to lose the crowd attention, that’s what you get when you don’t have a singer and you’re just pressing “play” on hip hop samples. If it weren’t for the hula-hoop dancers in the crowd they would have been about as interesting as watching a bloke operate a bobcat.
Thank Christ MC Wheels was up next, he got the crowd back on track with the controls firmly set toward Planet Party. It says a lot when people who aren’t into rap get into it. Great little set, good entertainers and skilled Aussie Style rappers. Band of Frequencies then punched out the guitar style funk like they were in a porn marathon and so did The Cool Calm, but although on paper both bands were guitar oriented funk The Cool Calm had more of a Pink Floyd/Ska thing going on with their tempos. Great band, really different in a chillaxing way.
Sack Race was up next…I didn’t win
From here on in the talent lineup kept rolling along and building – the rain came down occasionally, but there was no threat that we wouldn’t get to the end of the event. Along the way to Kite String Tangle, Transvaal Diamond Syndicate all the way up to the top of the totem pole at The Preatures no one disappointed. Every act saw this festival as something special and delivered a bespoke set to the crowd, but the cap on the festival is that its boutique and unlike any other, word is that it may not continue but I hope it does. If it looks like rain just go anyway, you’ll have a ball.
Words by John A
Behind the Lens Jordan Aarts