02 April 2013

Easterfest 2013: Day 1

Thursday 28 March

Last weekend we went up to Toowoomba for our annual music festival pilgrimage, Easterfest. Easterfest is Australia's largest festival at Easter about Easter, and annually features a wide spectrum of Christian artists, speakers and musicians from across Australia and the world. This year marked Kara's 8th Easterfest, and my 13th or 14th. I've been going since the early years when it was known as AGMF, or the Australian Gospel Music Festival, and can't remember if I went in 2004 or not.

Waiting for the first bus of the day.
It took three buses to get to Toowoomba. From our place, we caught a bus to Garden City. From there, we transferred onto one that took us to the Transit Centre in the city. That's where the Greyhound Terminal is, and we had cheap tickets thanks to a late-announced (but much appreciated!) promo deal between Greyhound and Easterfest last month.

We got to Toowoomba just before 3 pm, and it's a short walk from the Toowoomba bus station to Queen's Park, to exchange our Easterfest e-tickets for armbands. We got our tickets last year at a discount, which included "Premium Pass" armbands, needed for artist signings and for a few special acoustic shows.

After that, it was on to check in at our hotel, the Comfort Inn across the road from Toowoomba Grammar, about a kilometre from the Park.

While Easterfest proper in the park wouldn't start till Friday, Thursday afternoon was the beginning of Easterfest City. Easterfest City is an addition from recent years, where the festival expands out from the park and into the city itself, with local and international artists performing in cafes, pubs, shopping centres and venues across the city.

Sitting in Bon Amici's, listening to Erica Bronwyn.
It doesn't take long to find people you know, even with the thousands of visitors to the festival. We ran into Josh & Michelle and a few others at Erica Bronwyn's EP launch in local cafe Bon Amici's.

Then it was on to Cafe Forté, a little further down Margaret Street, for dinner before Paul Colman's show at 8.20 pm.
Dinner! Steak sandwich (me), Curly fries (Kara), and milkshakes.
Back in November, on our Gold Coast getaway (see pictures on Facebook here), we'd gone to see a Paul Colman show on his Our Backyard Tour. Held at Surfers Paradise SLSC, we were among less than a dozen people at the beginning, so the concert was moved out onto the balcony, with acoustic guitars and no microphones, Paul taking turns singing and playing with Scott Darlow and Adam Agee. Dubbed "The Balcony Boys" for the night, we then took a handmade "Balcony Boys" sign along to their Brisbane concert a couple nights later after we got back.

Well, while sitting finishing our dinner, Paul Colman arrived and was heading out to the courtyard to set up for his show. Kara called out "Balcony Boy!" which got us a grin and a group hug.

Billed as "Paul Colman & Friends" in the program, Paul was joined this time by Matt Hammitt (frontman of Sanctus Real). They took turns playing acoustic guitar and singing, and even got another songwriter out from the audience to play one of her songs for the audience. It was a fun evening.

Paul Colman & Friends. Matt Hammitt (L) and Paul Colman (R).
Matt singing a stripped-back version of a Sanctus Real song.
There was a dance party in the city hosted by the Red Frogs crew going until 11, but that sort of thing wasn't our scene, so we headed back to our hotel instead. The Easterfest venues at Queen's Park looked cool lit up at night.

The Palace (left) and Entrance Tent (right).

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