Nimbin Mardigrass Festival
Our first impression of Nimbin was that it was wet, and dark, as we turned up to our camp-site, the Rainbow Retreat, in the pouring rain at 8pm at night. Spartacus navigated some precarious roads, and we were lucky that the river hadn't yet blocked the drive into the camp. It did later that night, and we though we might be trapped in this boggy place for the whole weekend!
We paid for our pitch, and then gravely made our way over to a gazebo where we decided to unfurl our still-damp tent and try to put it up without the rain getting inside. Rain is a pain in the arse for a traveller, when all your belongings are in one backpack, and your home is essentially a sheet and two fabric walls, not much to protect you against the elements.
Hungry but with little supplies left, we made some noodles in the 'kitchen'. It had most of the facilities that you need to cook but it was basically just a shack with electricity. Damp and tired, but still buzzing about resucing a baby Koala, we hung out with our friend Innis who had took a weekend detour from his route on the coast to come hang out again.
Sunshine woke us the next morning, although we hadn't slept a whole lot, thanks to the hard ground and the two guys having a bizzarre drunken argument around 4am. Weary but now warm, we headed into town. It was really hot by the time we reached the Mardi-Grass festivities, so we ambled around just taking in the vibe and checking out the stands being set-up.
A day-pass was $30 which was quite a lot considering the paid entry areas were not the most interesting, and we spent most of our time just walking up and down the main street, people-watching, checking out the awesome shops and food stalls.
We did go to one seminar, where people whom were pro-medicinal-cannabis were talking about how cannabis oil had radically helped them or their children; we didn't expect to get emotional, but one woman's tale had us both in tears, telling of how her son had gone from a horrible existence of countless life-threating seizures to now leading a happy daily life since beginning on the oil. This was more than just a pot-fest, this was a sensical display highlighting just how non-sensical the laws around cannabis are; its hopefully something that won't be debated in the future, once it becomes legal and common-place across the world, not in just some places.
That night we had a little chill (and maybe a cheeky smoke...) and then headed back in to check out the bands for the evening. Repetitive thumpy club music was pumping out one place, but there was various bands performing in different places, with one band's lead singers sounding kinda tone-deaf...but that was so fun about it all, everyone who wanted to be creative and express themselves, could be.
The next day was much of the same, but it was also time for the march. Hundreds of people lined the streets anticipating the hoard of people and the oncoming mass light-up of doobies. Then it began... Dancers dressed with sequin marijuana leaves on their heads, moving gracefully. Lots of flags waving, people smoking, a man tending to a pile of burning weed, a topless lady shaking everybody's hands, roller-skating women dressed in green, a man dressed as a woman pushing another grown man in a buggy, the giant inflatable spliff, and then finally, we joined the end of the march. We probably ended up in lots of people's photos as they all took pictures of us and the more interesting people in front.
Mardi-Grass was not a crazy weekend per-se, because weed generally makes you relaxed and laid back, so everyone at the festival was too, and we saw no trouble all weekend. The only people who didn't have fun were the police, faced with the task of hundred's of people, many obviously high. But it was super surreal and we are glad we went, it felt like we were part of something important, and we left feeling more pro-reform than ever. But we couldn't wait to leave the boggy camp-site and its ramshackle buildings. A relaxing weekend with awesome street-food, friendly and happy people, and a great atmosphere of positivity, Mardi-Grass was radical dude...
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at NomaderHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!