The Festival That Never Was
Well that was exciting! My first ever Bluff Oyster & Food Festival and it’s definitely one to remember and not only because it was my first. Nope, this had all the makings of a double episode of a daytime ‘Soapie’.
It started all according to plan, despite the weather forecast it was all just going along quite nicely. The buses were dropping people off, the cue outside was not too bad, the food inside smelled divine and the entertainment well received. I had just walked a circuit to capture the happenings on film and wandered into the ‘green room’ where only event staff could find refuge (and coffee). I made a coffee and continued to watch the audience shuffle back into the large marque across from the stage to avoid the wind and horizontal rain/hail that had started a few minutes before hand. Anika Moa had only just finished her set and it all started to go a little ‘wrong’. The wind picked up to great gusts which threatened to take off with the marques and the stage – bits were starting to fall down, tables overturned and chairs flying across the now empty space.
The once peaceful ‘behind the stage’ slash ‘green-room’ quickly became packed with people seeking shelter and not long afterwards the decision was made to cancel the event for safety reasons – it simply wasn’t safe to remain under the marques.
I was just about to follow the 3000 or so people who made their way off the site but thought I’d wait until everyone had gone. I’m glad I did. A little while later (and another hot drink later) the second act of the day, The Filthy Two’, decided to do an acoustic number for us gathered in the ‘green room’! What a treat! Our very own Entertainment Coordinator Rosi decided that was a brilliant idea but a slight change of venue was in order, to one a little sturdier than the shed we were all in so we all ventured to the now nearly empty Abalone Shed (large concrete and strong). So some of us got to hear The Filthy Two twice! A mix of Irish songs and old time favorites causing those who remained seated to toe tap along with the audience that couldn’t help but dance. There must have been around 200 people enjoying themselves, listening and singing along when about half way through their set I noticed there were all of sudden a ton more people than before, it was nearly standing room only, packed in quite nicely. It was then that word came in the road out of Bluff was actually blocked by a downed power line and most of the people who had left hadn’t gotten far, either on the road or had found their way to one of the pubs and motels across the road. What they must have thought with the sudden influx of people! Anyway, people were starting to quite enjoy themselves in the shed and a loud cheer went up when The Johnny’s also agreed to perform on the end of the fashion runway inside the Abalone Shed. Someone got a BBQ going at the back of the Abalone Shed and whipped up Whitebait fritters and the drinks didn’t take long to be flowing again either. Thanks to the tunes of Johnny Cash bought to us brilliantly by The Johnny’s there was little room left on the two ‘dance floors’ beside the ‘runway’ stage and there was yahooing aplenty! All too soon it was time for the final act of the day, The Eastern, who also received a roaring welcome. They too belted out their catchy tunes and had people dancing in the aisles.
Although the sleety rain had started again, the wind had remained the entire afternoon but certainly didn’t dampen the spirit of anyone there in the Abalone Shed. It was getting dark and the last song was being sung, it was nearly over for another year – not bad for a Festival that was cancelled 6 hours earlier but continued through the storm. Bluff, simply put: YOU ROCK – you know how to throw one heck of a party!