On Friday night The Boy and I packed up the car with a few days worth of clothes, booked into a dingy backpackers and headed up to Launceston for Festivale.
We arrived in Launnie at about 8:30pm, checked into the backpackers and then wandered over to Festivale. It was packed. There were people everywhere. Families, couples, groups of giggling girls and, of course, the wine drinkers.
We started by doing a few big laps around the park, we couldn't get to the main stage but we eventually managed to procure two Tasmanian Inn apple ciders and found a spot to sit near the second little stage to watch Sticks and Kane, who were large amounts of awesome and played some super cool song. We wandered over to listen to Diesel but it was completely packed and had no where to sit, we also had no idea who Diesel was and decided we liked the other dudes (as they were known as at that stage, having forgot our programme) better because they played better songs.
After watching Sticks and Kane and imbibing a few more ciders we decided on an early night and, after purchasing some food for the road (fish and chips and ollibollans, both exquisite) headed back to the backpackers where we found the pub downstairs having a lively party with a live band. They sucked. They finished at 1am. We eventually got to sleep and woke early the next day.
We got to Festivale at 11am on saturday, which was perfect, there were free tables, hardly any lines and the weather was stunning. We explored the half we couldn't get to on friday night, watched some kids make cupcakes and thanked our lucky stars we didn't bring our kid. (In saying that, Festivale was incredibly family friendly if you don't have a feral toddler like we do). The atmosphere was great, people were happy and laughing, no one was cranky about lines and we heard only a few complaints and most of those were about the cost (which, in my opinion, were a fair call, $20 entry and then food and drinks on top could make it a very expensive day for a family with 2 parents and 2 kids)
We decided on some lunch, Pizza from Motile Wood-fired pizza. I had potato which was completely delicious although a little bit salty. The Boy had hot salami and a slice of my pizza, both of which he declared fantastic except that the salami wasn't very hot.
After responsibliy eating before drinking we decided to go in search of more cider and came across Two Metre Tall, a farm-based cider company from down "our way", we got two medium cups of their Pear cider and found a nice table with an umbrella (good idea that, the umbrellas) and drank our ciders. I have to admit I wasn't much a fan it was traditional cider which meant it was much more bitter than I was used to, the boy enjoyed it thought and drank both his cup and 3/4's of mine.
I decided after our pizza and cider that I should do something adventurous and LO and BEHOLD! There was a stall selling possum "tasters" for $2 so I thought, gee, why not try road kill? (seriously, I know it wasn't actual road kill, but when I think of possums I think of roadkill). It wasn't very nice, I'm not usually an adventerous person food-wise so I was quite proud of myself for trying it. It tasted okay, but the texture was... weird.. chalky and it smelt kind of like cat food.
We then decided that dessert (the best of meals) was in order so we wandered around (for about the 13th time) trying to decide what to get. We settled on a warm white chocolate and raspberry brownie. It was stunning and I'm glad we only got one t share! So rich and lush! After scoffing that we decided that second dessert was in order so we wandered over to the Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm stall where we got a chocolate, raspberry and rum pudding and a single serve of raspberry ice cream. These both also fantastic, the ice cream was luscious and the raspberries were perfect sweet, with a little bit of tart and they looked beautiful, like something from a picture.
After taking in some of the music while eating our desserts we decided it was time for an afternoon nap and some Launceston sight seeing.
We got lost in the 'burbs, went to the museum and then back to the backpackers for a short nap.
We headed back to festivale for dinner where we decided old favorites were the go. We both had a baked potato, yummy but the portion sizes were a bit small for my liking and we were still hungry so we each got a bratwurst, which were also super tasty. After munching down those and still feeling peckish we headed over to the kids area for something that every self-resposcting festival must have, fairy floss! 2 big, pink sticks later we were full to the brim and bursting so it was over the stages for music,. The main stage was packed so we, again, wandered over the the smaller stage and watched what they had to offer. I can't remember the names of the bands and singers (Sorry guys!) but they were all incredibly talented.
About 10pm we decided to call it a night, we were full, tired, slightly sunburnt and longing for sleep. So back to the backpackers, where it was, thankfully, pretty quiet (except for the couple down the end shagging loudly but that done in 5 minutes, poor buggers).
All in All Festivale was an amazing event. I didn't see a single fight on either of the nights I was there despite how drunk a lot of people where. All the stall holders were friendly, helpful and generous with samples. It was an incredibly family-friendly event and the kids area and activities were well thought-out and appropriate. There was ample cheap parking nearby.
The event organisers should be proud, it was better than anything similar I have been to in the southern region and I hope that we can go again next year.
Thanks to ABC for giving me the chance to be able to go to this event because without the free passes and vouchers this is not something that would have been within our reach.
Well done Launceston, we Hobartians may appear not to appreciate you but from now on I'm going to try and get my northern jokes to a minimum.