Festival attracts colourful characters

LILY HOFFMANN

FESTIVAL goers from far and wide flooded Moulamein across the Easter long weekend for the annual Conference Festival (ConFest). The six-day festival is held on 1000 acres of private property and is only a stone's throw from the Moulamein township.

Festival goers come from as far afield as Italy and South America to attend the biannual event.

Kate Shapiro, one of seven volunteer ConFest directors said they anticipated around 4500 people would attend over the long weekend. 

The festival has no amplified concert stages or formal structure, rather the event is a culmination of alternative lifestyles, focusing around learning workshops, artistic expression and community. 

"There are much less drugs than other festivals as it's not a bunch of ravers, it's more just people walking around, it's far more hippy," Ms Shapiro said. 

Ms Shapiro has been attending Confest for 20 years and was inspired to dedicate her time to ensure the future of the festival was maintained. 

"When I first attended, a lot of the people that were doing the set up were older, so I thought if younger people didn't get involved, the festival could die," she said. 

"It appeals to people who have a desire to exchange ideas and shape new ways of being."

The event has been organised by the Down to Earth Co-operative Society for more than 25 years and ConFest relies solely on volunteers to run the event. 

For more on our special coverage of Confest, grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (19 April)

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