Island Vibing! Our first Aussie festival

Trip Start Jan 21, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Amity Point campsite
What I did
Island Vibe festival

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, October 30, 2011

The last time I wrote I recall making some quip about how my blogs would become more frequent now that we will be settled in Brisbane for a while.  Alas, the slap-in-the-face reality of getting jobs and becoming a full time worker has actually limited my already infrequent writing attempts, largely due to my being exhausted every night when I get home!  It really is a pain in the arse to have to pay for everything with money, and even more annoying that having employment is the only bearer of the money fruit while we are here.  Having arrived in Brisbane with $300 in our account we scrubbed off the 9 months of travelling dirt, brushed our hair, donned some ill fitting and ill suited to the Australian climate 'corporate' clothing and set off to the city with CVs in hand and fake smiles on our faces.  Funnily enough the recruitment agencies were all desperate for us to join them, and we spent a week dodging various consultants all clamouring for our details to add to their books.  

As I mentioned in the last blog, I was actually given an interview fairly quickly for an 8 week temp role, and I found out within a couple of days that I had been successful!  I was to embark upon a new experience working as a PA assistant to the Chief Network Officer at Queensland Rail, located in the CBD.  Tom's CV was doing the rounds and it wasn't long before he was offered a role, also for 8 weeks, at a mining company.  He left the ladies fashion company gladly and without a backward glance, only to find himself shut away in the dark of a tiny meeting room, completely separate from the rest of his team!  My role (only 1 week to go!) is pretty busy, but when I joined I was told as soon as I arrived that it was an extremely challenging department and that I would need to be completely on the ball as it could be stressful and relentless and full on and every other word you can think of to describe a hellish nightmare scene of total stress!  Obviously I was slightly perturbed by this, but the girl doing my handover was only 22 and I figured if she had been doing the role for a while then I would be ok.  It turns out they had actually hired a temp before me who lasted until 3pm before promptly bursting into tears and declaring that it was just too much and she couldn't cope.  It was therefore quite strange to feel all eyes on me for the next 2 days, and the joke got a bit old about the fact that I was 'still here' every day.  After a week or so I settled in though and made the role my own, as they say!

Tom's job started off well as he found out that he got to leave early every Friday at 2.30 and that they put on free beers for their staff.  They also had a morning tea on Wednesdays where all manner of cakes and pastries were provided, so he was happy enough, more so when 2 more temps were hired and he had some company!  Then it all started going downhill as his job got less and less demanding and the boredom crept in.  Despite this the CFO of the company kept tracking him down and asking his opinion on random things and what he thought they could do better in the department, so he was making a good impression anyway!  We both felt after a couple of weeks that although it was great to have money again, we no longer felt as if we were on holiday as the work week drudge settled on us like a blanket.  Imagine our delight when Shele and Matt mentioned a festival called Island Vibe that happens over a 3 day weekend on Stradbroke Island!

We looked into getting tickets, which were thankfully still on sale, and then the planning began as to how we would get there, where we would camp etc.  That was decided for us as all the close campsites were already booked up, so we booked into the Amity Point campsite at the north of the island.  It costs about $180 to take a car over on the ferry from Brisbane so we all decided to take tents, and only our lovely friends Claire and Loz would bring their campervan - large enough to carry all of our stuff too!  There were about 12 of us in total so we had a great fun group and were able to split a lot of the costs.  The morning of the festival was warm but a little cloudy, but that was perfect for travelling over.  Me and Tom headed over on the frerry a little later than the others as I decided to get a hair cut first, much to Tom's annoyance.  We got there by around 3pm though and our tents were all set up for us by Shele, Matt, Dez and Anna, who had arrived earlier! 

As soon as we arrived we were pretty much told to get going as we all wanted to see the opening ceremony for the festival.  Unfortunately our campsite was a good 14kms away from the festival sight, but there was only 1 shuttle bus scheduled to go to the festival, and that was at 5.30pm. Taxis were extremely rare (apparently only one on the island!) and expensive, so it was decided that we would walk along the beach to get there!  Dez and Anna had previously stayed at this campsite and were sure it wouldn't take us very long, maybe an hour to walk there, so we set off with gusto into the sunset.  I had my reservations from the beginning, as on our way to the campsite our bus had detoured via the festival and we knew how long it took to get there, but we were convinced by Dez that the beach route was much quicker!  After walking for an hour and a half, we kind of knew that we had no chance of catching the opening ceremony, and instead decided to breakout onto the road and see if we could score a lift from a friend of Dez's.  Bless him he was feeling really guilty as he felt like he'd pursuaded us all to walk, so he frantically called a friend and asked him if he would give us a lift!  Thankfully a guy turned up in a huge 4x4 and offered to take us to the festival, he only wanted to do one trip though so all 9 of us (Claire and Loz hadn't arrived yet) crammed into this car!   There was a tangle of arms and legs, and to the cry of "DIE HIPPIES!" we sped off to Island Vibe!

The festival itself was tiny in comparison to festivals we are used to in the UK, but it was perfectly formed and one of the cleanest places I have ever seen considering the few thousand people who were making their way through tents and stools and eateries.  There was an array of amazing food, lots of lovely organic stuff and the most delicious Yemeni food place ever that we frequented a number of times during the weekend!  The weather was outstanding and if anything we could have used a little more shade, but the vibe itself (I am not one for using the word 'vibe' but it's the only way to describe it) was awesome.  There was zero attitude, everyone was friendly and chatty and there for a good time, it made for a really refreshing change.  The festival itself was sold as a Reggae/Dub/Roots kind of thing, which for those of you who know me will know that's not my thing at all!  However, I went with an open mind and there was some absolutely outstanding music and acts playing that were really danceable and just plain silly fun.  We got involved almost immediately, jumping around and kicking our legs all in the name of a great set by Kingfisha - a really cool band who were loads of fun and had a modern reggae sound, if there is such a thing.  I got very into it and loved dancing around with Tom in the sunshine with a huge smile on my face!  There were many other bands that played and I can't remember a lot of their names but needless to say the first night was a success.

We headed back to the campsite early-ish as we had to make sure we caught the shuttle bus back, and we were all quite tired after the day in the sun.  We slept surprisingly well in our tent and awoke to the sound of the birds singing and the distant sound of the ocean.  Deciding that we needed a pick me up before we set off we all went for a swim in the sea before heading back to the festival for day 2.  This time we didn't need telling twice to get the shuttle bus so we all managed to get ourselves there in good time!  The weather was gorgeous once more and we got stuck into the bar for a few drinks.  The festival set up was pretty family oriented so you were only able to drink alcohol in the bar tent itself, which made sense but was a little annoying when we wanted to go and have a dance with a drink!  We coped well enough though and had another cracking day dancing to the likes of Grace Barbe (AMAZING Afro Kreol singer who had so much energy and who actually played twice over the weekend so we had double the fun!) and Blue King Brown (a rocking band who I am told can be described as Dancehall/Roots/Rock mash-up, but I just thought they were great!).

This day was a more alcohol fuelled affair than the first, and therefore ended with us all travelling home on the last shuttle bus in extremely high spirits - I was in hysterics for about 20 minutes but I couldn't tell you why!  We chilled out in our little community camp area and had a few more drinks and a lot more laughs that night until finally calling it a day at around 2.30am.   That's pretty good going for me as I am usually a bit lamer these days!  Needless to say Sunday was a rather painful wake up and required a full on breakfast to make us human before we could gather our thoughts for the last day at the festival.  We started off by heading to Home Beach, the beach right next door to the festival site, and spent a few hours swimming in the ocean as it was beautiful and clear.  We chilled out in the sun and I think everyone was feeling it a bit from the last two full on days, so it was a quieter and somewhat sleepier group that headed into the melee! I can't really remember much about who played that day, except that Grace Barbe did again and our dancing was not as energetic as the first time.   Tom and I decided that we were going to leave the festival a bit earlier to get back home, as we both had work on Monday and knew we would want some time to chill out before we had to get up and do a full week's work.  We left everyone at the festival and made our way back to Brisbane, and back to reality, getting home around 6pm.  I think we were in bed by 9pm that night!

The whole weekend was just so much fun and made us feel really grateful for having such lovely friends here to spend weekends with and be totally welcomed by. I wouldn't hesitate to go to Island Vibe again as I was completely impressed with how it was run - there was a real community spirit; recycling areas, water bottle refill stations and opening and closing ceremonies that celebrated the indigenous people of Australia with some inspiring stories and cultural shows.  It was a complete eye opener for me and I think Tom was just impressed that I not only was able to get through the weekend but that I threw myself into it wholeheartedly!  We went back to work that week with sleepy heads but great memories.

Now we have only a week left before we leave Brisbane and head down to Sydney, we are definitely ready to start travelling again and get back in the van for a new adventure!
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