Nymagee Outback Music Festival – A Day In The Dirt

31st of October, 2009, Saturday 8:30am to 12am

Welcome to Nymagee! Spectacular Wongaibon Country!

If you haven’t come here yet, then the Outback Music Festival is a great way to expand your mind-map of Western NSW.

Roughly 12 hours drive from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, Nymagee is a tiny ghost town in the middle of spectacular surroundings. Native pines, grasses and big old gums provide a true bush experience, while the amazing ‘Bald Hills’ – granite mountains who sit like old men around the festival – dominate the Northern horizon.

The town once boasted over 5000 miners and their families, indeed, many nearby communities in the area had many 1000s of people working the rich seams of gold, copper and silver. Remnants of their incredibly hard life abound, including some fantastic examples of old miners cottages, Butcher, Community Hall, Picture Theatre and in-tact Bakery.

The World Wars, dust storms, Rabbit plagues, drop in mineral prices and drought decimated the area’s population. In recent memory, the old families who maintained a rural existence on once rich but now barren lands have gone. The school was lost when the last remaining young couple with children could no longer survive the harsh conditions and left for greener lands.

Today a skeleton crew maintain a pub, police station, a honey producer, wild goat and sheep farmers and give directions to the occasional lost traveler.

The Nymagee Outback Music Festival was started in 1999 by Jay Dunn and family to rejuvenate the town and bring some form of economy. Originally erected on private land, a stage and festival infrastructure still stand a few ks to the west. It will be great to return to the original site, but for now we are situated in the main street, near the pub and Community Hall.

Current Co-director Andrew Hull pays credit to the hard work the Dunn family and locals have put in to creating a festival ‘vibe’ like no other: “When Jay mentioned to us last year that the festival might not go ahead, we immediately knew that there would be 15 or 20 professional musicians and bands, and a growing local music loving public who would be terribly disappointed. It simply took a few phone calls to some of the biggest names in Australian Alt-Country rock and roll, promising a great experience but no money,  to be able to officially announce the ’08 festival a goer”.

Andrew’s band “The Lonely Horse Band” had made an album and a 6 part radio series with an ABC producer of the living history of the town in recent years. He and colleagues knew that the Nymagee story had spread far and wide at most of the leading Folk and Music festivals around Australia and local ABC, and that the musician and music lover grapevine had spread the Festival experience to the far corners of the country. The result astounded everyone concerned!

“We turned the town into a sea of smiling faces!”, he laughs,  “Over $5000 was raised by selling T-shirts and CD’s to enable the musicians to cover their travel costs. This year we are inundated by musicians wanting to come again, and new ones that have heard of the excellent time we had!”

So again the festival will ‘appear’ in 2009, not from any fancy marketing or expensive advertising, but from something that gives you a great reason to smile about: goodwill.

It is a fantastic family day, featuring some the best songwriters and musicians you will find, face-painting, jumping castle, and acoustic chalk board stage, a massive sound system supplied by Victorian festival specialist Tony Hammon, and food, lots of food. This year we have musicians coming from every state and territory of Australia, all for the love of it!

“Recently we visited Nymagee to talk to the Nymagee Progress Association about whether we could come again in 2009”, Hully explained, “They were so appreciative of the efforts of musicians to bring some entertainment back to their historic town. The local Flower Show will happen again on the day, and the local Gymkhana committee which looked likely to fold for lack of funding are over-joyed to be able to provide a BBQ lunch and dinner to bands and punters, and rescue their annual Horse event thats been going since year dot.”

Please help us support this little community by telling your friends and sending the good news along your grapevine.. Nymagee Outback Music Festival is ON!

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2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. It is quite simply the highlight of the year. So powerful is its healing magnetic effect that the mere mention of the name is enough to make renowned serious guy Neil MF Murray giggle like a tot. Can’t wait to blitz it with The Junes!! Wooooooooohhhhhh!!!!

  2. max

    la la laaaa ll llllaaa la llaa hooray