GarterBelts & Gasoline Nostalgia Festival, Australia

Posted by guest On October - 18 - 20122,792 views

FRIDAY NIGHT ROCKABILLY BALL

As we made our way along the windy roads that curve through the beautiful rainforest of the Mountain we spotted plenty of rods and kustoms headed through town and parked out the front of The Mount Tambourine Motel which was to be our HQ for the weekend. The rooms were deceptively spacious with all the necessities and a big comfy bed (we knew we’d be needing that!) but best of all we had a lovely little balcony that opened out to some GORGEOUS views!

We arrived and there were a number of stalls set up for our shopping pleasure including a wonderful vintage collection from Kitty’s Vintage Kitsch and The Shop That Time Forgot. As tempting as it was, I didn’t buy a single thing, reminding myself of what I could buy in Vegas soon but there was a stunning lingerie set by Bonsai Kitten that really caught my eye. The Vonda Youngman Centre which was this year’s new venue and I have to say it was a hit. The building had been transformed and the wooden floors were perfect for dancing while the huge stage up front was resplendent with thick red velvet drapes and soft stage lighting. Perfect for showcasing the talented musicians, it was a stunning sight that really evoked a sense of nostalgia.

First up was The Drey Rollan Band from NSW who were welcomed back to Garterbelts & Gasoline yet again this year. Rock ‘n’ Roll meets Roots with these young guns using a subtle blend of thunderous percussion, blues guitar and that old time slap bass sound. This dynamic line up take turns providing vocals giving their music an interesting edge.

Next up was Rocket To Memphis from Western Australia, also another Garterbelts favourite had the crowd stomping and hip shakin to their infectious voodoo jungle rhythm. Fronted by Betty Bombshell and backed by Razor Jack Memphis, Shotgun Pete and Voodoo Viv these daddies of the devil’s music take you on a wild ride of rockabilly, swamp and 60s garage verging on sinful but staying just on the right side of rockin, grinding bliss.

Allowing the crowd a moment to catch their breath, Kitty’s Vintage Kitsch and The Shop That Time Forgot presented a stunning vintage fashion parade that celebrated pretty petites all the way through to va va voom curves and delighted the audience with everything from swimsuits and day dresses to furs and gowns. The vintage on show was absolutely stunning!

Queensland’s very own Pete Martini and The Freight Jumpers picked up the pace bringing Melbourne favourite Warren Earl to the stage with their honky tonk western swing. The dancers had the floor packed to the twanging sounds of these cowboys, particularly with my favourite addition to any line up – a lap steel. I just love that resonating slick slide sound.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for – time for special guests all the way from Austria/Switzerland Mars Attacks to take to the stage. These guys were smooth, well-dressed and certainly well-received by the crowd. Playing a mix of original material as well as covers of old favourites including some Go Cat Go, these guys brought the night to a riotous close.

I think the sign of a great performer is to always leave the crowd wanting more and these guys certainly succeeded. Thankfully they were also headlining the next night so we left on a high, knowing we wouldn’t have to wait too long to see these guys again. It was a big night, but it was off to bed with an even bigger smile on my face to try and get some beauty sleep before we were up early the next day to catch the Soap Box Derby.

SATURDAY SOAP BOX DERBY

We were up early on Saturday morning to join the ranks nursing sore heads that lined the hill at the corner of Curtis and Long Roads for one of the most fun events of the weekend. To have so many people willing to battle their hangovers and lack of sleep to enjoy this event so early in the morning is a testament to how well-loved this event has become and it’s a credit to Paul and Amanda for bringing back the good clean fun of such an old and cherished sport.

There were all manner of hot rods, barrels, bathtubs and contraptions which had been turned into racing machines and while the work that had so obviously gone into some was impressive, the clapped out ratters that looked like death was just a millimetre away were just as well-received. After the kids had their runs first (albeit down a slightly smaller slope) it was time for the best entertainment of the day.

Seeing grown men steering their home made karts flying down the hill at warp speed (or not, some were not as…errr…shall we say ‘aerodynamic’ as others and were, well let’s face it…dragging ass) has got be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. There were speed wobbles, fist pumping, thrills, spills and that great big hill! There was really only one significant stack this year and thankfully the driver managed to get himself back on track.

After a great round of heats it was off to the Mount Tambourine Brewery for refreshments, trophy presentations and some great entertainment from ACT act The Fuellers who took us well into the afternoon. If you didn’t manage to drag yourself out of bed for this event, you REALLY missed out!

SATURDAY NIGHT ROCKABILLY MELTDOWN

Arriving at the Vonda Youngman Centre there was barely time for a photograph before I headed backstage to help the bevvy of beauties who were to be competing in the night’s pin up competition. There was so much primping and preening going on in that backstage dressing room and although there were a few nerves and butterfly tummies, the girls were absolutely lovely and pleasure to work with.

While backstage we could hear the swingin hillbilly sounds of Warren Earl & The Atomic Rockers all the way from Victoria. My toes were a-tappin to the jazzed up blues, rockabilly and early country rock ‘n’ roll of these boys and I can only imagine that the dancefloor must have been packed!!

Then it was time all the girls (and all the guys out in the crowd too I’m sure!) had all been waiting for – their chance to take to the stage and strut their stuff! As a ‘stage mum’ I stood off to the side helping the ladies with their props, giving them their cues and just generally trying to calm their nerves and I was SO proud as they each took their turns on the stage to dazzle the audience. I do not envy the judges a single bit as that has to be hands down the hardest job! All the girls were completely gorgeous and had adorable routines to boot! I honestly don’t know how I would have chosen.

After the girls were crowned their titles, Western Australian favourite The Rusty Pinto Combo took to the stage and had everyone captivated. Swooning girls are a regular sight at Mr Pinto’s shows but Rusty is a real man’s man as well so there were plenty of bromances going on as well. With his distinctive jump blues style, Rusty had the crowd pumped and on their feet and I was more than delighted when he played two of my favourites – Lonesome and Crossroads. Rumour has it that Rusty has a new solo album about to be released and I’m very excited to hear it!

Next up, straight outta New South Wales were Wes Pudsey’s Hollywood Hombres a groovin, rhythmic outfit that combine the infectiousness of blues, swing and boogie woogie with a wild beat and the unique addition of a saxophone. These guys gave an energetic performance and were burning up the dance floor with an exciting new sound that still remains true to authentic RnB.

Once again, special guests all the way from Austria/Switzerland Mars Attacks took to the stage for their final performance of the festival. Shaking things up with more of their original material, these guys had the punters crowded around the front of stage and were a fitting end to the two big nights of entertainment. The atmosphere was electric and even as the festivities ended, there were still so many people milling around wanting to thank each artist for their fantastic performances and avoiding heading home, not wanting the night’s fun to end.

HOT ROD CARNIVAL

Armed with sunscreen, parasol, camera, pretty dress and comfy shoes we headed for the excitement of the Hot Rod Carnival. As soon as I stepped up to the gate and got a peek inside the grounds I was struck by just how enormous and busy the grounds were already. At only 10 am, the carnival looked to be even bigger and busier than last year!

Enjoying the warm rays of the sun we cruised through the row upon row of pre-70 hot rods, customs, stockers, ratters, bikes and vintage caravans making sure we got to see all the gleaming automobilia before we hit the stalls or band stage (once dazzled by pretty things and rockin music it’s hard to convince yourself to leave).

We toured the stalls selling almost anything a rockabilly gal or guy could dream of. There were magazines, kustom clothing and accessories, pomade and grease rags as well as authentic kitschy vintage and collector pieces.

We caught some shade in the Vintage Hall as we took in all the Queensland talent showcased in the Low Brow Art Show. There were all kinds of creations on display, everything from tiki carvings to airbrush artwork, Lichtenstein-esque paintings to pinstriping, metal sculptures to photographic displays and so much more.

By this time the sounds of the band were filtering through the windows and we couldn’t stay away a minute longer! Splitting our time between the hilarious show being put on over at The Fuelers stage and the main stage, we watched the dancers battling the hilly grassed area and enjoyed the fantastic entertainment. This year the main stage was moved to prime position up near the markets and thankfully there was more shade to enjoy too – I think it was a great move!

We caught Victoria’s Scotty Baker on the main stage and fell in love with him all over again but the ones we were waiting to see were Hanks Jalopy Demons, also from Victoria. This was my first time seeing these guys live despite loving their music for some time now and they certainly didn’t disappoint! They were fantastic and I only wished that they could have played one of the night time shows so that we could have really burned it up with them.

SUNDAY NIGHT WIND DOWN

After an exhausting day walking around the showgrounds and a massive weekend filled with so much fun, despite my heart being ready for more my body was thankful for the slower pace of the Sunday Night Wind Down. Held in the gorgeous St Bernards function room some might remember as last year’s Garterbelts HQ, the night was the perfect ending to a festival that continues to outdo itself.

Offering a more intimate atmosphere, the night and the venue provided an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends, enjoy dinner and mingle with plenty of the musos who were wandering around and enjoying the final night of fun. Victoria’s fantastic talent was represented in force with Warren Earl’s South Valley Syncopaters kicking off the night with plenty for the swing crowd to enjoy while The Black Hill Ramblers ramped things up a notch and brought the night and the festival to a thunderous, fitting close.

As I dragged myself into bed that night, despite being more exhausted than I remember being in a very long time, I was so thrilled with how fantastic the festival turned out this year and was brimming with pride for the amazing talent and dedication to the kulture that shone throughout the weekend.

A humungous thank you must go out to Paul and Amanda for all their hard work, sacrifice, sleepless nights and determination for pulling off such an amazing festival on such a grand scale. Without people like them dedicating themselves to events like this, the kulture wouldn’t live on or be gaining the strength and momentum that it has.

–          By Sheri Bomb

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