2013 / 2014 SUMMER NEW YEAR’S CONFEST: CANCELLED: iMPORTANT NOTE (Update: September 2013): The members of the volunteer based Co-op have found it necessary to postpone the Summer New Years festival for Monday 30th December 2013 to Sunday 5th January 2014, in order to allow time for them to meet with the requirements of a new permit. The decision was made at the Down To Earth (DTE) general meeting on the 19th September 2013 to cancel summer ConFest. The difficult decision was voted on by all members present because of a number of reasons relating to Conargo Shire council and RFS (RURAL Fire Service NSW) compliance requirements, due to large Australian fires causing councils and fire services country wide to tighten up on compliance issues. The DTE Board felt that it would be fair to cancel in September rather than continue promoting Summer ConFest with a high risk of cancelling the festival only a few weeks before it was due to start. Read more here.
ConFest is an alternative festival held in the south-eastern Australia at New Year and Easter. The name ConFest derives from the combination of the words conference and festival. It was first held in 1976 near Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. It was initiated and organised by Jim Cairns, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, and his personal assistant Junie Morosi and David Ditchburn, as a means of bringing together the subcultures of the alternative movement.
Today ConFest is a family friendly gathering of about 3000 diverse people, ran biannually by volunteers attracting a diverse range of people. Confest attracts people from all over the world and Australia, with the majority of attendees from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
ConFesters are typically interested in alternative and better futures for themselves, others and planet Earth.
YouTube video: Dual-horn (Stroh) violin, guitars, drums and deep fried tofu at Confest, Easter 2011 ~ Features the musicians and G.E.C.O. (Goongerah Environment Centre Office), makers of the tofu, protectors of the East Gippsland old growth forests, plus many Confesters making Easter 2011 a beautiful experience. Filmed in the last 15 minutes of sun, Easter Monday 25th April 2011 (using a Sony VCL-DH0758 0.7x wide conversion lens to a Kiron 24mm f/2 Canon FD lens on a Sony NEX-5, audio via ECM-SST1 with Redhead windscreen)…
The Open-Stage Concert is held on at least one evening of the festival, especially New Year’s Eve. Large drum circles also play there on various evenings.
The Art Village is energized by two ConFesters and supported by others, provides a communal hot tub, steam room, massage area of about 30 massage tables, life drawing and ceramics beside the ConFest beach swimming area. Around are in near constant use.
The Workshops are are held in 12 workshops spaces, with another 10 or more workshop spaces emerging. A large variety of about 300 workshops are run on a self-organising do-it-yourself basis.
The Family Space attracts a lot of Confester families and provides a workshop area.
CONFEST iS CLOTHiNG OPTiONAL:
Clothing optional means you have the option to be nude or clothed. ConFesters can wear, or not wear anything they chose, everwhere on the ConFest site. Don’t be surprised to see a naked ticket collector when you arrive at the ConFest gates. Clothing is non-gender specific and can range from nothing, to body paint, a coat of mud, a sheet, grass skirt, hippie threads, fairy costume, ball gown, dinner suit or anything you could imagine wearing. There is just one simple rule, RESPECT other ConFester’s choices.
YouTube video: Mudtribe at Confest (December 2010) ~ The MudTribe participants were divided into 2 tribes running around ConFest separately for over an hour before this film footage. Each tribe is to become as they would have been 1000s of years ago. Mudtribe is a very liberating way to get into the role of being totally free from society conditioning…
Please Note: ConFest has a zero tolerance policy toward any form of sexual harassment. Abuse of alcohol or drugs is not condoned. ConFest attendees should remember that if anything occurs at the gathering that is wrong in Australian society, it is also wrong at ConFest. ConFest is run solely by unpaid volunteers. It is a condition of entry that ConFest attendees contribute 2 hours of volunteer energy toward the gathering. Some volunteers contribute all year towards the running of the gathering.
WHERE iS THE LOCATiON OF CONFEST?
The Woorooma Confest 1000 acre open forest site is set on a 4km river frontage on Edward River, east of Moulamein (12km), west of Deniliquin in New South Wales, Australia. See the enlarged map at Confest.org.au/location. See the DTE (Down To Earth) map & transport information. See the exact location of the ConFest campsite at Moulamein on Google Maps.
$100 for adults and $1 for under 16s. No booking required, pay at the gate on arrival.
YouTube video: The magic of Easter Confest (2010) – imagery by Sophie O, audio by Listening Earth…
HiSTORY OF CONFEST:
The first Confest gathering was held in 1976 at the Cotter Dam Reserve, southwest of Canberra. The 2nd gathering in 1977 was at Mount Oak, on rented farmland near Bredbo, south of Canberra. It attracted 15,000 people. The farm was then purchased with the festival takings as an open community.
ConFest in the early years was a melting pot of worldly diversity, with their great 70s passion for a better world. Conferences at ConFest originally attracted up to 1000 people. The workshops held then were on all aspects of well-being for people and planet Earth, including self-sufficiency, yoga, tantra, meditation, vegetarianism, gestalt therapy, massage, politics, polyamory, mud-brick construction, geodesic domes, paganism and music workshops.
The Australian Down to Earth Network was formed as a loose coalition. Festivals were held in every state and territory of Australia. Three state-based organisations were formed, in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. They organised further festivals, usually on private forested land with river frontage. Eventually only the Victorian Down to Earth co-operative incorporated aka DTE has survived, and continues to organise ConFest on a property brought in 2006, on the Edwards River near Moulamein, which has since been the permanent happy hippy home of Confest.
YouTube video: Easter Confest 2012 – Music at the beautiful Holy Cow…
MORE ABOUT CONFEST ONLiNE:
Visit the Confest Community Online: www.confest.org.au
YouTube video: Spontaneous Choir Easter ConFest 2010 Part 1 ~ The beginning of a massive amazing perfomance. 200 people swells to 400 in Mexican waves and a spiral…
iNFO FOR FiRST TiME ViSiTORS TO THE NEXT FEST:
ON ARRiVAL: Set up a camping spot on the beautiful ConFest site. Then visit the Volunteer tent where the task rosters are set up, as 2 hours minimum work is included as part of your ticket price, so fill out a time in the activity of your choice. …relax, join in and make friends.
WHAT HAPPENS AT CONFEST:
- Play shops
- Tai Chi
- Vegetarian market
- Alternative technology
- Circus skills
- & much more
You may have some skills or thoughts you’d like to share with others. You could create your own workshop, and advertise it on the workshop boards. ConFest is as much about you as it is any other long time visitor. Be free to just do your own thing, create or join with a village that suits you.
WHAT TO BRiNG FOR CONFEST CAMPiNG:
- Basic camping gear
- Water bottle
- Sun block
- insect repellent
- Personal medications
- Musical instruments
- Light footwear
- Warm clothes (for cold nights)
- Cup, plate & cutlery
- Art supplies
ARRiVE BEFORE SUNSET:
Arriving in daylight allows you to drive to your camping site (unless in the car free area) for an easier time setting up your camp. For safety reasons the road entrance gate is locked after dark and reopened in the morning. Vehicles are restricted from moving around the ConFest site at night. If you arrive at sunset or later, you’ll need to leave your car outside the front gate. During the evening on the first few days of ConFest, groups of cars waiting outside the road gate are escorted to the ticket gate, then moved to an overnight area within walking distance to the camping site areas. Cars cannot be driven on the site at night. Please pack your sleeping gear so that it’s easily accessible if you arrive after sunset. You will be able to walk into the ConFest site. The Ticket Gate is set well into the ConFest Site from the Road entrance gate.
If you want to leave the ConFest after sunset, drive your car outside the road gate before sunset, and walk out to your car when you are ready to leave. Remember to get a pass-out if you want to return to ConFest. Note: There are provisions in place for emergency vehicles such as Ambulance, Fire & Police.
CAR FREE: This is a fixed car parking for ConFesters who will not be moving their cars until the end of ConFest. The car free parking are is situated closer to the car free camping area, to make it easier to get gear to the car free camp site. Hand trolleys and barrows are provided if required to help move your gear.
GYPSY AREA: You may have your car, caravan, camper, truck, etc at your camp in the Gypsy camping area. Your vehicle must remain stationary while you are ConFest. Once you’ve set up camp, you cannot move your vehicle from this area till the end of ConFest.
ACCESS AREA: This area is for people who wish to camp with their car, but want to come and go during ConFest. People who are camping in the car free area may also leave their cars in the access area.
FiRES: Cooking can be done in approved fire circles in regulation fire drums. NO small fires are allowed anywhere at ConFest. Always be fire conscious and considerate. TOTAL FiRE BAN days must be adhered to, so also bring some no cooking required tucker.
SMOKERS: Please remember to dispose of your smoke butts with great care. ConFest is out in the bush and fire is a major threat in this area, and remember many people are bare foot. Please bring a portable pocket ash tray for your ash and cigarette butts.
RUBBiSH: Take all your rubbish home. Organic matter can be thrown down the pit style toilets. Avoid bringing glass as it is dangerous for the many people with bare feet.
NO PETS: No pets allowed at all!. No pets allowed anywhere on the entire ConFest site; not in any camp areas, not in any car park, and not left outside the ConFest site. Be kind to your pets and organise a friend back home to feed them, look after them, or check out a local kennel or other to help, well before you leave.
NO ABUSE OF DRUGS & ALCOHOL: In specific villages such as Healing, Massage, Spiritual, etc, the use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol is banned.
Down To Earth created this slide show video of Confest at Moulamein NSW Australia – Held Summer & Easter Slideshow on TripAdvisor TripWow!
CONFEST iN THE ONLiNE NEWS:
- The SYDNEY MORNiNG HERALD: Nudity a drawcard for this camp out (by Andrew Taylor 29th December 2012) Music festivals like Stereosonic might ban men from baring their chests but the organisers of ConFest, an alternative camp-out festival held twice a year near Moulamein in south-western NSW, take a very different approach to nudity. ”Don’t be surprised to have a naked ticket collector when you arrive at the ConFest gate,” the festival’s website reads. ”Clothing can range from nothing, to body paint, a coat of mud, a sheet, a fairy costume, even a ball gown or dinner suit’… read more
- The WEEKEND AUSTRALiAN MAGAZiNE: Moulamein-2733 (3rd December 2011) IT’S not that Claire Reynolds and Chrissie Hall have filthy minds or anything. It’s just that when they were planning their photography road trip around Australia, they needed a theme for the project – and what they decided on was “Pure and Dirty”… see more
- VULTURE MAGAZiNE.com.au: ConFest 2012 (by Jess Wainwright 9th April 2012) In the spirit of ConFest we’re writing this review completely naked and layered in mud. Please join our circle (clothed or unclothed) as we open our heart and mind to an alternative festival. A festival without the sale of alcohol, no lines, no signage, no stages, no amusement rides, and no douche bags… see more
- WEEKEND NOTES.com: ConFest Alternative Summer Festival 2011 (by Michaelie Clark 2011) Join a community of thousands of diverse people celebrating alternative lifestyles at the ConFest Summer Festival from Thursday, 29th December 2011 to Wednesday, 4th January 2012… see more
- DENiLIQUiN PASTORAL TiMES: ConFest drug operation questioned (by Zoe McMaugh 10th January 2012) Deniliquin police have no plans to stop the biannual ConFest event at Moulamein, but said illegal drugs being brought into the region by its participants would not be tolerated. In an operation specifically planned around the start of the event in late December, Deniliquin Police recorded 115 drug detections in just two days… read more