You can play uke

Day 6, Saturday 11th Jan 2014 Elmore – Girgarre

It was a warm night but the breeze through the van was pleasant, so we slept well. We drive about 40kms to Girgarre to find that the whole town (population 191) has been turned into a campground. We check-in at the town hall and pay our fee of $50 per head. This covers Friday dinner, which we have missed, Saturday dinner, Sunday cooked breakfast, all music, and music workshops. In all, it’s damned good value. There is only one post office store in town, oh, and a hardware store, but thankfully food vans have turned up to supply the hot and thirsty musicians with pizzas, coffee, and ice creams. All of the events are held in the town hall, the hall supper-room, the CFA fire station, and in the open air in the park.

We park the van in a spot that turns out to be poorly chosen as the heat is searing but that’s a lesson well learned. Woody drives to nearby Kyabram for some cash to pay our dues and I attend a uke workshop and endeavour to learn how to pick ‘Let It Be’. I guess now it’s up to me to practice for the next 12 months before it sounds even half recognisable. Friends are here from Long Beach Short Strings and we spend the afternoon practicing for the evening’s gig.

Any spare space will do for a uke workshop

We meet for drinks at D & M’s van but no amount of fluids are enough to quench us in this heat. There are about 800 people here and it’s an amble across the road between the camp and the hall. There are small groups jamming throughout the camp. There is a strong focus on ukulele and a lot of banjos and mandolins. There are all manner of vans here and tents and people sleeping in cars.

Dinner is served in the hall and the locals have put on a ham and chicken salad followed by fruit salad and ice cream which is just perfect in this weather. We meet some interesting people including a couple who tour the music festivals and have just come from the Ariel Valley festival, he in his bus and she in her motor home. It sounds like they are an item but neither will relinquish their home on wheels.

We all race over to the park for the evening’s entertainment and we ukie’s are first up on the tautliner stage to do a few numbers. The MC mentions that if you give someone a uke they think they can do anything….yes, he is right about that! But God it’s good fun. It’s a beautiful evening to be listening to music, there is a red glow in the west silhouetting a huge gum tree bedecked with Christmas decorations. The country and bluegrass music wafts over us. People are up square dancing and kids run loose just being kids with no restraints. We wander off to bed and sleep to the sound of banjos in the distance.

Towing Kms: 40Kms

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