We were looking forward to seeing Maldon as we had arranged to catch up with some old friends who had recommended the festival. On the way there, we drove to Chewton to visit Joan, who is Heather’s Aunt. She lives in an old cottage and spends most of the time working in her garden – Heather was very jealous! Drove back to Castlemaine and had a look around the town – again magnificent public buildings for a small town. They had the most comprehensive restoration centre that we had ever seen. This time it was Peters turn to be jealous!
After lunch we arrived in Maldon and had a look around the town. It slowly dawned on us that we had visited Maldon about 5 years ago, but had forgotten about it (we should have read our blog). Unlike the other gold mining towns around here, Maldon does not have impressive public buildings or homes – most of the shops and houses are built of timber and tin. While Maldon had a number of very productive mines, the boom was short-lived and most of the population moved away after the gold petered out. The people who remained, continued to live in the town, but didn’t have the pressure to modernise their buildings and so Maldon today reflects a typical mining village from the 1860’s.
We camped out of town, in an old gold reserve. This is the main area for the Maldon Folk Festival and the organisers had erected a number of large tents for the entertainment. When we found a spot in the bush to camp, we discovered we were camped next to another couple (Pete and Maxine) we had meet when we were bush walking at Halls Gap. We had told them about the festival and they had decided to check it out.
The festival kicked off on Thursday with a concert including Martin Pearson – a unique character, who always makes Peter laugh with his insane ramblings. The next day we meet with Judy and Rod for coffee and arranged to have a barbeque that night to catch up with our other friends. Maldon is a low key festival, with a lot of the acts being local, so we didn’t know most of them. The only international act was The Whitetop Mountaineers, a genuine bluegrass act from the Virginia Mountains – loved their accents. The music tended to be more country and bluegrass than folk, but the audiences loved it and we had a great time. As we were camped out of town, there was a bit of distance between the venues, so we needed to do a bit of careful planning to see everybody, but we managed to catch up with all the acts that we were interested in.