It goes without saying that after nearly twenty years of marriage we still have a red hot crush on each other. However, our blog isn’t one of those travel cum relationship cum spiritual cum wellbeing cum hippy nonsense epistles. No ours is much more frivolous than that.
The Crush we’re referring to here is the annual Bundaberg Crush festival. It’s a celebration of the region’s arts over a few weeks in October. The name comes from the crushing of the sugar cane which also happens at this time of year. So once again, I’ve raised your expectations of finding something a little bit saucy only to cruelly dash them before we’ve even got going. Carry on reading though – you might find you like it.
There’s a range of events throughout the festival from Kids Activities through exhibitions and lectures to performances. Here’s a flavour of Crush (orange? for REM fans out there) from three of the events we went along to.
Throughout Australia, Bundaberg is synonymous with the rum produced here. Its less well known outside of Australia as Diageo, the global drinks company that owns it has other brands such as Captain Morgan which it promotes outside of Aus. However, everyone down under knows Bundy rum and its got a big following of collectors who compete to get the numbered bottles of new releases. Avid collectors camp outside the distillery in the days running up to a release to get a bottle with as low a number as possible. In recent years to capitalize on this, the distillery has run a mini music festival on release day and had some good line-ups. We’ve seen The Beards, Stonefield and You Am I to name a few. The October ‘Spirit of Bundaberg festival’ is part of the broader Crush festival and we went to catch a couple of the acts.
It’s a great venue in the distillery grounds – very urban and industrial. It won’t surprise you that there was a wide range of rum concoctions on offer including the newly released Master Distillers Company Black Barrel 2005. To soak it up there was a good range of food stalls selling food from around the globe as well as locally produced rum and meat pies.
The first band we saw were The Grates from Brisbane. We didn’t know a lot about them but had heard a few of their tracks on the radio. It turned out be a really good gig. Patience the lead singer was a fantastic show woman and she got down into the crowd for group hugs and to entertain the kids who were there. We really enjoyed it and will keep an eye out for them again.
The headline act were a supergroup, Antipodean Rock Collective comprising of Aussie rock royalty. Namely; Darren Middleton from Powderfinger, Kram from Spiderbait, Davey Lane from You Am I and Mark Wilson from Jet. They were great fun, jamming out tracks from their own bands as well as Aussie classics from the likes of AC/DC, INXS and The EasyBeats. A fun evening was had by all, and even better, it’s all free. Definitely something to look out for if you’re going to be in the Bundaberg area in May or October. Read a full review of the festival here.
During Crush, a new exhibition opened at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG). BRAG is a groovy small gallery which showcases local and visiting exhibitions in its three spaces. Emerge, a collection of art from local senior High School students is an annual exhibition and we went along to the opening of it this year. There was some impressive talent on display (our pictures don’t do it credit) and a fantastic turnout for the opening night.
The final event we went to in this year’s festival was ReStamped. There’s a bit of a movement going on in Bundaberg to activate places that maybe have seen better days. Earlier in the year a lot of work was done in the streets of north Bundaberg which were badly affected by flooding in 2013. New businesses are beginning to open and this combined with some funky street art is creating a great vibe in what was a pretty forsaken place. Creative Regions a local community art production company is responsible for much of this and have worked closely with likeminded folks in Toowoomba. You can see some evidence of this in our post ‘Sex & The City’.
ReStamped was focused on Post Office Lane, a back alley of the main drag Bourbong Street which is essentially just a service lane for shops on the other side. For one evening it was filled with market stalls, live music, art and food and it created a great atmosphere. Around 3000 people turned out to experience it and we had a great evening wandering through the stalls and listening to bands. It goes to show how an injection of a bit of life can really transform even the most dreary of spaces.