The guy with a vision – Mullum Music Festival director Glenn Wright. The festival is only weeks away.
The guy with a vision – Mullum Music Festival director Glenn Wright. The festival is only weeks away.

Diversity key to third festival

Just two weeks away, preparations for the third Mullumbimby Music Festival are ramping up as punters labour over the extensive four-day program, from November 25 to 28.

“Musically, this is the vision I’ve had for the festival for the last three years,” festival director Glenn Wright said.

It’s an impressive vision with a mix of international, national and local supremos including Kaki King (US), Nano Stern (Chile), Salmonella DJ Sound System (NZ), Pieta Brown (USA) and favourites Mama Kin, Jen Cloher, Jordie Lane, Lucie Thorne and Harry James Angus (Cat Empire), to name a few of the 60-plus performers to choose from.

“The international line-up is really interesting with some great emerging artists like Gemma Ray from the UK who was added recently, Pieta Brown, Bo Ramsay from Iowa and Mary Gauthier – I was keen on getting that happening,” Mr Wright said.

“And then there’s a bunch of acts people like to see back every year like OKA, Tijuana Cartel and King Tide, but it’s also pretty diverse with new acts like Dick and Christa Hughes.”

Dick Hughes is a 76-year-old jazz piano legend, and his daughter Christa is an infamous singer formerly of Machine Gun Fellatio, and together they present their swooning jazz and blues repertoire from the 20s and 30s.

Local Northern Rivers acts make up about a third of the bill and include M Jack Bee, Christian Pyle, Ilona Harker, Juzzie Smith, Karl Farren, Ghost Mountain, Scarlett Affection, Greg Sheehan and a swag of others.

This year there will be more outdoor spaces, including the new ‘magic boulevard’ which is at the front of Mullumbimby High School.

There’s also lots more on offer for the kids, plus the Scarlett School’s concert performance.

And if you’ve been studying the program, you will have noticed the new Conspiracy Theory Talks being held at Byron Regional Community College. Don’t miss ‘UFOs Are Real’, ‘How the world really works’ or ‘Synchromysiticim: the Da Vinci Code of Mainstream Hollywood Cinema’.

“We’re getting more adventurous, adding more talks and workshops and diversity to the program,” Mr Wright said.

“It’s all paying off, with ticket sales well-advanced on last year.

“The first years I was struggling to get sponsorship and the festival lost money, but this year everyone has been really generous – all Mullum’s independent businesses are really supportive.”

Good things have been happening on the community front too, with involvement from the Mullumbimby Community Garden, the Farmers Markets, Lismore Lantern Parade, Brunswick Valley Landcare and the Byron Bay Regional Community College, which is a sponsor and a venue.

“Preparations are going well, but running festivals is a high-risk occupation akin to gambling,” Mr Wright said, admitting he still gets nervous about the weather and Mullum’s electricity supply after last year’s Saturday morning power failure.

Miraculously, it came back on again five minutes before the first act was scheduled to play.

So why does he do it?

“It’s a real labour of love for me,” he said

“Sure, I want it to be financially successful, but I want it to be successful in every other area as well.

“I’ve done my career stuff so I’m not in this to further my career opportunities. I just want it to be a great event that showcases good music.

“The beauty of this festival is that it can’t outgrow the town – this festival is the town.”

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