My family wait with the early birds.
We’re in the rainforest at the gates of the Kuranda amphitheatre.
We can’t believe Mumford and Sons will be here soon. We’re shocked the queue looks so small, but it won’t be long until it’s a long winding multicoloured snake stretching out onto the highway.
We’re making small talk with fellow fans, finding out that one woman regularly camps in concert queues, ‘it is worth it, to be up the front.’ She’s also surprised at the short line. Another lady served some of the band at a supermarket where she works and tells us the story in great detail.
Gates open and quickly we head for the fence line. Two of us fit there, and three behind.
The amphitheatre fills slowly as the support acts, Willy Mason and Sarah Blasko, placate the crowd.
Willy reminds me of Johnny Cash. His song writing is intricate and well received. Blasko is in a world of her own. She has her own cheer squad in the crowd. She’s ethereal, melding into the rainforest, floating like a butterfly.
The crowd want Mumford and Sons. When Blasko leaves the stage you can sense the anticipation is at breaking point. We are a bubble that is floating, waiting to explode.
As if in a twinkling of a fan’s ardent eyes we are surrounded by a huge surge in the sea of people. We are not going to be able to move from the front again, with any chance of returning to our prime spot again.
Our cushions are under our feet, and later the crowd’s feet, as people squeeze in tighter and tighter.
The band is on stage and the anticipatory bubble bursts, only for another one to be blown as each song is played!
Rhythmic crowd jumps up and down in the beat of ‘The Lion Man.’
Arm to arm, shoulder to shoulder, we can barely move. Finger tips and arms sway slightly, an ocean of phones and cameras click and record. Our phone too, but then its batteries and memories run low, and so we must rely on memory and the youtube uploads after the event of the sea of phones around us.
Everyone seems to know every word of every song, even better than Mumford himself, who momentarily forgets the lyrics to one and says the F word quite naturally.
I’m enjoying the music, but the crowd is sardine- can- close. I keep an eye on the surge around my children. The security guards are being very sweet and safety conscious, and likewise keep checking on my children in front of me to make sure they are not being crushed.
The dust on the ground below me is covering my ankles. My feet are about to drop off, and there is still more concert to go. Even standing on the cushions we bought in gives no comfort. They are slippery and threaten to have me slip under the wave of the crowd.
Mumford and Sons are not background lounge music. They demand to be heard, with their banjos and guitar, drums and sometimes additional trumpets, as well as Marcus’s spectacular resonant and impassioned vocals.
‘Man is a giddy thing’ and so are fans. We are the people of the rainforest, united in fandom and in song.
As we are leaving we see many people from our hometown heading to their cars. They’re waving and then hugging us in ecstatic wonderment, still on a concert high.
Now for all of us, the long drive back home to Tully.
This can also be found at ABC Open.