Yay! The Labour Day holiday in Western Australia heralds the great news that it’s time again for the Nannup Music Festival, a quintessential WA regional music jamboree and creative get-together.
Nannup Music Festival Musical Discovery.
We love the Nannup Music Festival not least for the diverse and high quality music but also because it’s set in a wonderful part of our very own South West Australia.
So today I’m giving you a little slice of our South West life as we travel together to a historic town called Nannup.
It’s a long way from another famous festival in England!
For us the Nannup Music Festival is a time of discovery, a celebration of music, and a chance to immerse ourselves in a fabulously creative community. That’s one of the great things about this time of life, don’t you think? We can diversify our interests, play a little and just have fun doing things that perhaps in the past we didn’t have time for.
The festival is run over four days over the long weekend and showcases music ranging from foot stomping rock to soul wrenching blues, heartfelt ballads, desert reggae, and lots of good old R & B. The diversity is fantastic and so are the half dozen venues spread around this picturesque little township.
I loved the emphasis on diversity as well as the overall philosophy of lessening the impact on the environment : Things like Who Gives a Crap loo paper in the toilets, water refill stations to encourage people to BYO bottles and food stall waste being composted.
Did any of you get to see Three Summers the movie by Ben Elton about WA’s other famous festival, Fairbridge? It was a hoot, and I think really captured the quirkiness and fun of these events. I’d recommend this movie to anyone who likes a little bit of easy watching Indie entertainment.
Camping at Holberry House
We drove from Bunbury through the jarrah and marri forests. The red gums still in bloom but fading now as summer gives way to Autumn here in the southwest.
Once in Nannup we meandered along the winding tree lined driveway to Holberry House as we had been invited to camp in the beautiful grounds of this lovely country house style accommodation in the centre of Nannup. The grounds and gardens are extensive and beautifully kept. Expect shady camp sites, a fabulous shower and toilet block, lovely flowers, sculptures, oh and ducks on a pond. Just So Sylvan 🙂
Louise, the owner and a great champion of all things Nannup welcomed us and showed us to our camp site reached via a cute wooden footbridge over a small creek. We camped in a small grassy meadow situated amongst the tall trees of Holberry.
I’ve written more about Holberry House in this post – Where to stay in Nannup
Expect wonderful sculptures and quirky artwork throughout the lovely gardens.
“Holberry House is a unique guesthouse experience. It’s situated atop a wooded hill on four acres of landscaped gardens and parkland in the town centre of Nannup. Guests have the peace and beauty of a country retreat, whilst being able to stroll in to the heart of this historic town.”
There followed a quick tent assembly, followed by slip-slop with suncreen, sun hats donned and we were ready to start our day at the festival by 10.30am.
Singers, Songwriters and Merrymakers
We started the day by walking down to one of the main venues The Amphitheatre.
This is reached after a lovely walk from Nannup’s main crossroads (where the tourist centre is housed) under tall and regal karri trees. The route is lined by artisan and craft stalls offering everything from home made to hand crafted produce and the air is full of beautiful aromas.
Many of these creative troubadours purveying their various wares have made a lifestyle of travelling from festival to festival and seeing the country at the same time.
Again we marvelled at how much effort is put into making the town so attractive. At the food court outside the amphitheatre a huge, colourful handmade recycled plastic shade-sail was strung from the mighty trees and created the most awesome visual effect with the sunlight shafting through it like a floating rainbow.
Checking the programme we had worked out our plan for the day which incorporated catching up with some of our old Nannup favourites – like the Hussy Hicks, the mighty Swamp Thing from New Zealand, and David Hyams.
I first saw David Hyams and his band The Miles to go Band way back in 2010 when they played al fresco under a big fig tree in Fremantle. His music has a Celtic background and is influenced by WA’s might landscapes. At the time, new to the country I was mesmerised. Still am.
But there were many artists we had not previously had the pleasure of seeing.
We checked out the foot stomping Two Dollar Dog at the Nannup Hotel. I loved them! They were a great pub band which had the crowd clapping for more.
Then we listened to the gentle guitar licks of Banjo Jackson and Will Thomas who played a dusty blend of folk and rock.
Like many of the musicians at Nannup Will is a journeyman, a storyteller, a troubadour telling tales of bush rangers and the blood red dirt of the Kimberley.
Then we spent the day meandering from venue to venue snacking at the great selection of food stalls – yummy food served from food trucks – a naughty hot doughnut here, paella there and a fabulous chilli con carne at the Bowling Club for just $5!
At length, fed and watered we lay on the grass in the shade at The Amphitheatre listening to The Wild Dingo Band an awesome group from the Kimberley. Amazingly they had travelled for three days to get to the festival. Many of their songs are in their own language as they played their genre which they’ve named Desert Reggae 🙂
After the Dingos, the genre switched significantly and we were mesmerised by the range and soul of Thando a rising R & B star from Melbourne.
By now the sun was setting behind the huge karri trees which form the backdrop to the stage. Such a magical hour.
But no loitering allowed – we were off next to the town hall next to see Lucky Oceans, Harry Hookey and David Hyams. These three awesome musicians first met a few years ago when they joined together to give a concert at Roeburn prison, and enjoyed playing together so much that they’ve joined together on a number of occasions.
Harry’s infectious, joyous energy and catchy lyrics backed up by the awesome slide guitar of Lucky Oceans and effortless mandolin playing of David Hyams gave rise to a brilliant session in the town hall. This creaky historic building was built in 1903 out of timber, as befits a timber town and was nearly washed away in the great flood of 1982.
Swamp Thing and The Hussy Hicks
Our evening was rounded off going back to Tigerville and watching two of our old favourites, The Hussy Hicks and Swamp Thing. Both these bands really got the crowds going with their high octane music and infectious energy.
Playing energetic rhythm and blues Swamp Thing are one of my favourite festival bands who play every show like it’s their last, and the dance floor was full of ‘moshers’ dancing like it was their final fling!
Then finally we returned to the Amphitheatre to watch Mama Kin Spender and Caravana Sun under a full moonlit sky bright with stars, and had a little dance 🙂
We even came across a troupe of beautiful fairies!
As we wandered back to our tent Saturday turned to Sunday. The Southern Cross burnt like white light through the deep black sky and we felt replete with music and happiness.
Thank you Nannup for another awesome music festival. We love you!!
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Things to do in Nannup
The Music Festival happens but once a year, but there is much more to do and see in pretty Nannup.
I’ve written more about things to do in Nannup on my travel blog here:
Here’s a short tempter of just some of the things you might decide to do.
- Bike Riding – Munda Biddi trail and the old railtrails
- Nannup Music Festival
- Nannup Flower and Garden Festival – third week of August
- Swim (and camp) at the lovely Boranup Workers Pools
- Sample and buy artisan sheep and cow milk cheeses at Cambray Cheese
- Drive the beautiful route from Nannup to Balingup
- Picnic on the banks of the Blackwood River
- Visit the Lavender Farm?
- Have lunch in the shady courtyard of the Nannup Hotel.
- Stop at the organic Nannup Hemp Oil Company
- Visit the Nannup Furniture Gallery – Jarrah and Marri made to order furniture
- Buy organic products at the Merri Bee Organic Farm
- Check out the historical records and memorabilia at the Nannup Historical Society (open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings)
Distances to Nannup
Nannup to Balingup 42km
Perth to Nannup – 265km
Margaret River to Nannup – 70km
Bunbury to Nannup – 97km
Pemberton to Nannup – 77km
Helpful Links and Resources
Nannup Festival Tickets – Make a note to check out this website for next year.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links from which I stand to earn a small commission but at no expense to you. My night camping at Holberry was complimentary.