I recently visited the Mullum Music Festival for the first time and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. To be honest, I didn’t even know this event happened each year so it had never occurred to me to visit. Thankfully, I was contacted by the guys at STA Travel and Destination NSW to attend the festival with their #60DayAdventure winner, Matt. We spent 4 days soaking in every aspect of the festival, from the amazing live acts to the awesome food and drinks. We danced, laughed, made friends with the locals and loved every moment of it.
If, like me, you’ve never thought of attending before, here are 17 great reasons why you should go to the Mullum Music Festival.
1. Amazing food
There is SO much great food at the Mullum Music Festival, it’s just not funny. Best of all, there are heaps of really delicious options available for vegetarians and vegans. You’ll find yourself spoiled for choice and, like me may end up eating more than just one course for dinner. Our favourites were delicious organic vegetable tempura bowls from Doma and these insanely yummy Persian-Style wraps from Koobideh. All the noms!
2. Dance the night away
There is no such thing as feeling too embarrassed to dance at this festival. Everybody gets up and grooves away with absolutely no regard for what anybody else thinks of their moves. It’s so liberating! If you want to sit and chill, that’s cool too, but just know that dancing ain’t considered embarrassing… even if you dance by yourself. We jammed out to loads of great live acts, especially Trinity Roots, who had us grooving away for hours.
3. Meet really cool locals
We met so many amazing locals at the festival, from the people who run local stores and markets to the festival organisers themselves. Everybody welcomed us into their community and by the end of it, we felt like we were locals too. It’s a great chance to strike up a conversation with the people who live here and find out what they love about Mullum and discover a few live acts you may not have visited otherwise.
4. It’s not your typical festival
It is definitely not your typical festival, nuh-ah. We found it to be so peaceful and chilled out, no super-drunk idiots starting fights or people raging out on hard drugs spoiling it for everybody else. Instead, the whole festival has a super cool vibe going on that makes it really easy to enjoy at your own pace. It’s not stressful or over-crowded in any way and there’s no stuffy security pushing people around. It’s just a little haven of music and cool vibes.
5. The music is so good
The music is SO GOOD. I only knew one of the artists listed in the line-up but that didn’t matter at all because all the performances we went to see were awesome in their own right. The intimate, simple setting of it all makes the music that much better and more organic, which makes it really enjoyable to watch. If you have any reservations about how good the music could be in such a small town, banish them right now because the music here was better than what you’d usually find at big festivals (BDO, anyone?!)
6. Discover new bands
One of the best things was the chance to discover new music we’d never heard before. I fell in love with the music of quite of few acts that I would definitely not have found otherwise; include Chris Tamwoy, Trinity Roots, Bullhorn and Winterbourne. Now I can’t wait to turn their music on in my car and re-live it all while I’m driving!
7. Wear what you like
There is no dress code. In fact, you’ll be lucky to spot too many people with shoes on during the day. There’s no need to go out and buy a new festival outfit, just go wearing shorts and t-shirt or a flowing cotton skirt and a singlet top… wear whatever you want, because nobody cares!
8. Great markets
So many good markets to be discovered and explored, each selling great, fresh, local produce as well as arts and crafts, organic supplies, plants and everything else you could dream of. If you love markets, this is the place to visit.
9. Family friendly
Yep, it’s totally family friendly!! I saw so many cute little kids rocking out at the festival and it just felt so safe for them to be there. Like I said, the lack of drunken/drugged up idiots makes for a really cool environment and it’s a great place for little ones to start learning about the importance of music in this world.
10. Live comedy
Yea! There’s comedy too. We went and saw a couple of local women who put on one heck of a stand-up show. Trust me, I was sceptical too, but they were genuinely fantastic.
11. Free transport
There are buses that ferry people around town, which makes it easy for the kids or you (if you’ve had a few beers and don’t want to walk). The brightly coloured magic party bus is the place to be, trust me. The music is turned up loud and you pump along the streets with bubbles and wigs flying everywhere. Yep, you read that right.
12. Or you can just walk
While the bus is fabulous, things would be just fine without it too because all the venues are so close together. That means it’s easy to walk between venues to see each act, which is ideal. It also means that all the acts are inside, so you don’t find yourself standing in a muddy marsh somewhere waiting for the music to start.
13. Did I mention the food?
Seriously, you guys, the FOOD. I ate SO much great food. Some nights I had 2 dinners. Aside from pop-up food trucks and stalls, there are loads of great cafes in town too, including my favourite; The Rock and Roll Coffee Company
Ahhhh yes, the beer. It really is the cornerstone of Australian culture and I don’t care if anybody thinks that’s low-brow. On those long hot afternoons, we loved going to the licensed areas and sitting around with an ice cold Stone & Wood, watching the sunset over Mullum. If that ain’t bliss, I don’t know what is.
15. It’s authentic
This is a really important one for me because I am bloody sick of feeling like people attend events just to say they were there and get the Instagram pic to prove it. The Mullum Music Festival is not pretentious in any way. It felt to me like each and every musician there was there for the love of music. Legitimately! If you really respect musicians, this is your jam. Even if you don’t know much about music, it’s a great place to experience something organic and genuine.
16. The Street Parade goes off!
There’s a street parade and it is freaking awesome. There are no barriers or cops telling you where you can and can’t stand. Instead, you just stand wherever the heck you feel like standing and get involved with it! There are stilt walkers and other performers, followed by a really great brass and drum band made up of visiting and local musicians who belt out some really infectious tunes. As they walk past, everyone joins in and before you know it, you’re part of the parade too. So much fun!
17. There are lots of dogs
Yea, I know, it’s the most important reason to visit, right? If you love dogs as much as I do, you’ll be in heaven. It feels like everybody here owns a dog or brings theirs to the festival with them. I stop to pat every dog I see, so if you’re the same as me you’ll need to allow extra time to get between venues for all the dog patting stops you’ll need to make.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.