Merredin Songfest Blog May 2021

Day 1 – Perth to Meckering

We set off in the late morning. I had done some packing of the van on the day before and it wasn’t too difficult to get us loaded up. Our first stop was a rest area on Great Eastern Highway near Northam which has good a good view. Then on to to Meckering. We camped away from the bitumen for the first time and it was definitely quieter. We were able to watch a vehicle leading a couple of horses at a brisk pace for exercise. They went past on the way out and on the way back, and also once in the morning, but I didn’t have the camera handy at any point, of course!

We walked over to the service station for some crisps and the paper, and that was the extent of our evening walk. There was a strong wind, a bit cold, but we could easily handle it in our jackets. There was a leftover meal of Thai chicken curry for our evening meal, plus a fairly decadent icecream to have with our fruit.

Day 2 – Meckering to Merredin

In the morning it was still cloudy, though there was a red dawn early. We left Meckering at about 10.00 a.m.

We waited until we had arrived in Merredin to have our lunch. We went out to the Merredin Railway Dam camping area to check it out. We plan to stay there at least for Saturday night, perhaps Sunday night as well, although the Songfest is largely over by 12.00 on Sunday.

We called in to do a little shopping for extra salad items for the shared evening meal with MD7. Then out to the caravan park to check in and find our spot. We were parked near Cherry and she joined us for coffee after our rest. As she said, we would be busy with our choirs over the rest of the time and it was a good idea to catch up before things began.

It was already feeling hectic before we arrived at the house, but still, the sense of camaraderie made it worthwhile. There is one other ‘partner’, Lyn’s friend Steve, otherwise just the choir members. They had a little rehearsal after the shared meal, then we set off for the evening. It was a fairly casual evening of food, which was already served when we got there, a couple of songs from each choir, and some introductions and stories. The drinks were also complimentary, country hospitality at it’s best.

We stayed until the choir items were finished, then headed home to the caravan park and went to bed. It was only about 10.00 p.m., but we felt it had been a busy day.

Day 3 – Merredin

On Saturday we checked out at about 9.00 a.m. as MD7 had a rehearsal planned at the house. Whilst they got on with it I went to a cafe and relaxed a bit. There was some singing in the open near the visitors’ centre and a sound check in the afternoon. Stephen and I went out to the camping area for our lunch. We wanted to find a good place to park overnight away from the water as the choir member who was camping (Nick) said the frogs were very loud. It was such a good spot that when we arrived after the evening concert there was another camper van there as well. We managed to park in a way that didn’t block their exit, just as well because they did get away before us on Sunday morning.

The evening concert was more enjoyable than Friday night as it was a real concert and the choirs were well rehearsed. Filming was a problem as I was banished to the back of the hall. My lens wasn’t long enough to reach the stage and the microphone picked up all of the extraneous noises in the hall. Still, it’s a record of the event. I’ve recorded MD7 in a church with the camera on a tripod right in front of the choir and that worked well.

Day 4 – Merredin and Baandee Lake

In the morning MD7 were doing a ‘flash mob’ event at the local hardware store, followed by joining in a concert at a little market in the centre of town. I did some filming at both events. Then we had our reward, a BBQ back at the Tivoli Garden next to the Cummins Theatre. We spent so long talking with friends from MD7 and ex Working Voices that it was about 3.00 p.m. before we were ready to move.

We had planned to go back to Meckering for the night, but I was tired so we drove about 40 kms to Baandee Lake. It’s the usual rather bleak looking salt lake, but I had a nice evening walk before cooking us a light meal of lentil patties and some veggies. There were flushing toilets, but the toilet block was old and grotty, which was off putting.

The most interesting thing was that on the drive into the lake there was a large colony of rabbits. They were dear little things and had burrows on both sides of the road. Stephen was able to take a little bit of video on his phone, but they were quite wary of us and kept diving down.

And here is a little slide show, with a photo of the MD7 group with Stephen, and some morning shots at Baandee Lake.

Day 5 – home

We set off at about 10.00 a.m. and were home by 3.00 p.m. We had lunch in Mundaring where we bought some bread and rolls as well as a pastie, pie and apple slice. We also had a bit of a rest.