Henry Wagons and the Mullum Music Festival. Photo Jeff ‘Raaahhh!!’ Dawson.

Govinda Abbott

The Mullum Music Festival is well known for its special atmosphere – a whole town bursting with music.

More than eight stages (all local venues) are spread in such diverse places as the Civic Ventre, the Courthouse Hotel, St Martins Hall, the Bowlo, the Drill Hall, and even the local Highschool, all of them filled with music from all over the world.

You can hear music from the Soloman Islands, like Kaukumaakonga with their energetic ensemble consisting of beautiful harmonised vocals fused with panpipes and percussion, to Canada (Alysga Brilla) whos blend of Indian and East African sounds captured audiences at all of her standing room only shows.

But let us not forget the and local artists! Musicians from Melbourne to Mullum were definitely the core of this festival. They played on the streets to keep us entertained as we did the quick walks from venue to venue. Local band Blindmouth showed what the youth of the north coast are capable of with their progressive originals and great three-part harmonised vocals at the Balcony Sessions, drawing a big crowd of enthusiasts, and the Blackwood Band from Lismore which was a trio of teens consisting of trumpet, bass and drums played a funky, well-arranged set of some standards.

Now Melbourne was nice enough to lend us a fantastic klezmer (sometimes klezmer/dance) band by the name of Hello Tut Tut. Comprised of the usual klezmer band orchestration (clarinet, accordion, violin, bass, drums, guitar and percussion), these young virtuosos showed us a fresh take on tradition klezmer by fusing klezmer with dance beats at times.

Another great from Melbourne, who is now a welcome local, is powerhouse Singer and Trumpeter Harry James Angus. This iconic australian musician really put on a show in the civic hall with his band of all-stars.

Fantastic singing, smoking trumpet playing and wonderful composing made this a show most of us did not want to miss, as there was a waiting line to get in as the civic centre was overcrowded!

In fact, the crowd was so engrossed in the show, I was only able to spot one mobile phone up in the air filming it!

We were however fortunate enough to see Harry himself taking part in the Street Parade the next morning, playing New Orleans style marching band music with more trombonists than I had ever seen in a country town.

The Mullum Music Festival is fantastic for all age groups. Plenty of parking, reasonable food and drink prices ($7 beer, $15 lasagne), walkable distances between venues and a shuttle bus make this weekend unmissable for anyone in the area and worthwhile for guests from all over.


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