On the 29th of December thousands of cheerful and eager campers piled into an assortment of cars, minivans, Winnebagos and trucks on their way to the famous Peat’s Ridge sustainable music and arts festival. Don’t be fooled by the name – the festival in fact takes place in the beautiful, self enclosed three thousand acre Glenworth Valley on the NSW Central Coast.
Only one hour from Sydney and one hour from Newcastle this festival not only has the perfect location but is easily assessable. A shuttle bus service from Hornsby station ferried passengers to the site and back over the three days, and organisers even hosted a ‘car pooling’ section on their website to arrange for less vehicles on the road. This is all done to promote sustainability and lessen the festival carbon foot print, a theme surrounding the festival.
After driving down what appears to be a dirt fire trail that may lead to nowhere, festival goers were surprised to see the festival open up before them. The first view along the way is Glenworth Valley adventure centre which is open to campers who wish to explore the valley further. They provide a range of horse riding, kayaking, abseiling and Quad bike riding all at reasonable prices.
The valley is surrounded by two hundred metre high escarpment which magically hides the valley from the rest of the world adding to the close knit festival vibe. The untouched bush land is filled with native animals that if, you’re lucky, will explore the festival themselves and the surrounding tent city. For some campers this meant food going missing, however the festival has a totally organic general store in which you can pick up fruit, veggies, bread, milk and other needs. For anyone going next year, floaties and water toys are a must as a natural creek winds throughout the valley offering a perfect way to cool off during the day and laze about.
Over the three days the festival came alive with a huge range of music, theatrical performances and art. Approximately two hundred bands performed across a dozen stages, providing entertainment for a diverse range of musical tastes. A few of the outstanding performances included Astronomy Class, Bertie Blackman, Georgia fair, The Bakery, Blue king Brown, Lamb and of course the beautiful Sarah Blasko, who awed the crowd on New years with her stage presence and quirky personality.
Other highlights of the festival were the Dub shack, which pounded amazing instrumental remixes almost 24/7, and the Bohemian love theatre in which punters were not only entertained with music and theatre but also the occasional streak of nudity. The Eco-living village contained free, volunteer run workshops and presentations aiming to educate campers in how to take sustainability home.
The festival also provided a natural pharmacy for those who may have found the constant on the go tiring or they could even visit the Healing Haven of Bliss to chill out, relax and enjoy services including massage therapy, tarot reading and Reiki. New years night was advertised as a masquerade and the costumes that were created never ceased to amaze nor did they disappoint. Throughout the night campers caught a glimpse of the Smurfs, magical Princesses, animals, aliens and sea creatures to name a few. It was a dreamlike affect and with the combination of fantastic music, amazing food and a great crowd of people, Peat’s Ridge music festival 2009 was yet another step up for a unique festival.