Confest - 14-18 April 2006 (Every Easter)
ConFest was first held in 1976 and is still arranged by the Down to Earth Co-op Society, adhering to its original aims of transforming society into something more relaxing and communal. Now happening bi-annually - in the summer (over New Year) and, here, at Easter - the event attracts more than 7000 people for five days of co-operation and community, where everything on site is free (after the inital payment). The new site is near Deniliquin on the Edward River, close to the Murrary River border with the state of Victoria.
It was in the early 1970s that the then-Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Cairns, joined the Western hippy bandwagon and decided that the Antipodeans ought to celebrate flower power in true style. With the help of his assistant Junie Morossi and a team of dedicated free thinkers, ConFest was born, creating a unique mix of the educational (conferences) and fun (the festival).
Described as essentially a healing, personal growth event, ConFest aims to share ideas about what it means to be a "happy", "whole" human being. A ticket buys you access to a host of themed villages scattered under the southern stars. Beyond this initial outlay, everything on offer is free, in the true spirit of communal happy living. Each village possesses telltale names, so you have an idea in advance what you will find inside them.
The Healing village offers a range of therapies, lotions, potions and healers while the Arts village puts on a veritable range of creative activities. What goes on inside the Spiral village is anyone's guess, but it may well make you feel dizzy.
For whatever reason you decide to go, there should be something to grab your fancy. If none of the 360 workshops enlighten you, chilling out with live music and healthy food beyond the confines of the modern world should be enough. The spirit of spontaneity that marks ConFest, however, means that little can be accurately predicted - go with the flow.
Advance booking gets you a cheaper ticket. Note that pets are strictly prohibited and that alcohol and drugs are not welcome.