Review by Natasha Wyborn
Walking into The Gum Ball for the very first time I admit I was unsure what to expect. Rain poured and lightning threatened to end the Friday evening before it even began. Looking around I saw all walks of life from hippies to couples as straight as an arrow and even a mermaid yes you hear right. The common link between all parties was calm, peace and tranquility. I must say from the outset this is the perfect family festival, kids were everywhere and very welcome. There were plenty of activities to occupy them as well. From skateboard ramps to open puppet theatre this was a very clever addition.
The environment itself was perfect nestled on a private property surrounded by bushland. Camping amenities were plentiful with warm showers and numerous toilets. The crowd was limited to 3000, BYO proved very positive with no dramas, security was present but not obvious. Food was varied with scrumptious vegetarian through to gourmet pizza.
Now what about the music? From country to brass, from hip hop to rock there was no common theme. The organisers provided such a mixed array there was something for everyone.
Brisbane based The Belligerents was a highlight on Friday night had everyone up and dancing, despite mud up to the ankles and rain nothing was going to stop the dancing.
Dan Sultan’s voice haunted the bushland. This change of pace was appreciated by the crowd. As an appreciative gesture for a musical master that had just passed, Sultan belted out the Prince classic ‘Purple Rain’. The crowd stood, stunned yet appreciative. Watching the audience from a key vantage point many looked up at the sky. Pure rain splashing on their face as the sound brought emotion to their ears and soul.
Saturdays menu hit a positive note early with Melbourne based duo The Davidson Brothers mixing bluegrass with country and folk tunes.
Citizen Kay, a Canberra based hip hop artist was a popular choice with the teenagers. Playing to a packed crowd this guy is a talent worth catching.
For me personally catching the instrumental Surf-rock band, The Break was the highlight of the festival. The band made up of Jim Moginie (guitar/theremin/keyboards), Rob Hirst (drums), Brian Ritchie (bass/vocals), Martin Rotsey (guitar), Jack Howard (trumpet). Dressed in space suits the audience was treated to tunes from their debut offering ‘Church of the Open Sky’. Seeing Hirst who is now 60 years of age beat the drums again was a trip back to another time. Moginie and Rotsey took the crowd back with the Midnight Oil instrumental ‘Wedding Cake Island’.
Queensland brass outfit Bullhorn put the audience into a nighttime sweat. Described as nu-wave brass the 10 piece band is definitely something to watch out for in the future.
Headliners You Am I lead by flamboyant frontman Tim Rogers rocked the stage with a perfect blend of old and new. These guys have been around for over 20 years. The audience confirmed their popularity by singing along with every song. This was a perfect end to an incredible Saturday night. For those still wanting more there was also the silent disco that followed until 3.00am.
Overall what an awesome weekend of music and fun. If you are thinking of coming to Gumball 2017, BYO not only your alcohol but also your children, they are more then welcome.
Event: The Gum Ball 2016
Where: Dashville – Hunter Valley, NSW Australia
When: 22-24 April 2016.