Rare colour film footage of Australia's Nimbin Aquarius Festival, the historic event organized by the Australian Union of Students in 1973.
The majority of the images cover only the lead-in period for the festival on the days immediately prior to its official commencement on May 12th. Attendance over the festival period itself was estimated at anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 people.
To this day the festival is remembered as a cultural milestone, because of the way it first celebrated at a national level the emerging alternative thinking and sustainable lifestyles of the sixties and seventies, that have since come to influence this nation for the better.
The filming aimed to capture something of the mood of the times, including the relaxed pace of counter-cultural life back then and the creativity and shared values expressed. The poster art included is also from the event.
Live sounds captured on the festival site during filming included the early morning crowing of roosters and the spontaneous guitar playing of a nearby campsite resident. The soundtrack originally added reflects the best music of the era. And its remarkable quality and timelessness is now even more apparent.
The second half also includes a vignette of farm life at the time. The local dairy farms were already suffering from economic decline. And the video concludes with a brief set of images from Nimbin and the Rainbow Region as seen 35 years later.
The small rural township of Nimbin (NSW) is located just inland from Byron Bay on the Pacific Ocean, right on the perimeter of the now extinct Wollumbin/Mt Warning shield volcano and its stunning World Heritage listed national parks, rain forests, rivers and waterfalls. It is an area of enormous biodiversity, containing many rare wildlife species.
The filmmaker had only taken 4 rolls of super 8mm film with him at the time, limiting the scope of what was shot to what you see. (Four rolls of this film stock permitted a maximum of 12 minutes of footage, so every foot counted.)
These truly were the 'Nimbin good times'.
Country and Eastern: Music at the Aquarius Festival by John Allen (27-11-2012) (32KB)