August 18, 2014
The predicted wet weekend failed to dampen visitors’ enthusiasm for Boondooma Homestead’s fourth annual Scots In The Bush Celtic festival.
More than 190 caravans began packing into the Homestead’s grounds on Friday for the three-day event, just 10 fewer than last year’s record roll-up.
And while day visitor numbers on Saturday were slightly down on the usual turn-out, enthusiasm inside the Homestead’s spacious barn ran high.
A crowd of busy volunteers manned the bush kitchen, dishing up Scottish foods (along with more traditional Aussie fare) to the hungry crowd from early in the morning until late into the night.
On stage, this year’s Festival offered toe-tapping music from eight Scottish and Celtic bands, as well as energetic traditional dance performances from Bundaberg’s Rum City Highland Dancers.
Outside, stall-holders dotted the grounds, offering everything from coffee and wine tastings to tartans, enamel brooches, medieval armour and Celtic giftware.
The Festival’s bar was also kept busy, and some hardy patrons even braved the rain to take their meals outdoors under tents, likening the day’s inclement weather to “a Scottish summer”.
The Festival’s traditional caber-tossing was held earlier than usual on Saturday morning to escape the worst of the downpours, which got steadily heavier as the day progressed.
Some of the planned Highland games also had to be deferred.
But organisers noted that while some people had been deterred from coming to this year’s Festival by the Weather Bureau’s forecast of heavy weekend rain, there were still many new faces in attendance.
They thought this was a good omen for next year’s get-together.
Stallholders Helen and Ian MacGregor, from “A Scottish Yarn”, who travel to Scottish festivals all over Australia selling traditional tartans and enamelled broochware, said they rated Scots In The Bush as one of the “best value” events of its kind anywhere in the country.
“The ticket prices here are half to a third of what you’d pay for a similar range of entertainment elsewhere,” Helen said.
“And the atmosphere is just terrific.
“We love coming here, and it’s a pity it’s raining this weekend. But I’m sure the farmers will be happy, and they need it more.”
Cr Kathy Duff, who performed the Festival’s official opening, said she thought Scots In The Bush had become one of the Homestead’s signature events alongside the annual “Spirit Of The Bush” five day music muster held each April.
“Scots In The Bush isn’t as big as Spirit Of The Bush but it’s a great fundraiser for the Homestead and everyone tells me they have a really great time,” she said.
“Many of the people who come to both these events don’t live in our region, so they’re a really positive advertisement for the Homestead in particular and the South Burnett in general.”