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some of the information on this page may not be correct for ConFest2024

     How and Why and What-do-we-know

Many years ago a New Year ConFest got flooded and had to be called off, so a Director suggested to hold a ConFest over the Easter Break. It has become the most favoured festival for many.
About 4 years ago the head of the council or was it shire, told the same director that there would not be any further New Year ConFests. The fire-risk was assessed as to high.

DTE did everything they could to insure that New Year ConFest would survive. We bought a Fire-engine, two Utes to carry water, uniforms etc. You name it. This gave us better protection for Easter, alas it still was not good enough to be allowed to hold a New Year ConFest.
Some time ago we commissioned an outside company to survey our site and give us a report of what needs doing, before we could try and convince the Council that we have mitigated the fire-hazards. One of our volunteers, (an expert on Land-management) and another volunteer organized a big working bee to start on hazard reduction. 50 volunteers turned up for the event and had a busy but great time. The property is huge and much further work is required. For the Spring Festival we will concentrate on a different part of the property, a place we hope to use again for another ConFest, as we like to change sites to give the used sites some time to heal.
A couple of DTE members handed out a few notices which asked if anyone is interested in a Spring ConFest. This became a hot topic for some who thought that it would be the end of the New Year’s Festivals in the future. That off course was not the intention, rather “Let’s have one in spring until we can sort out New Year”. With this in mind it was decided to combine a working bee with a festival, after all “All work and no Play can get a bit overwhelming”. And that is what this Spring Festival is all about. For those that are passionate about New Year, come and help reduce the hazards. For those who come for company, togetherness, fun and laughter, yes we will cater for you as well. Or do we? You want something, great, you build it.

     BUT, you do not have to start from scratch.
What we hope to be there:
The Hub which will serve as a chai tent (free chai) bring a mug
A somewhat smaller arts-village
A kids entertainment space (NOT a child minding centre! )
Three places where you may be able to eat if you help to cook:
Tranquillity, Bliss, Gypsy
Gecko will have a village where you may redeem your tokens handed to you at time of entry. (One each) And Yes Kate you can have mine.
There will be a First Aid and a Communication space.
There will be sand at the beach and to upgrade the cooking circles.
We are still discussing lights for these circles, but please do bring some torches and spare batteries. The hot-tub is not the only place to make friends! Much will happen around the cooking circles. Each of those could be part of a village, give it a name, paint a sign, hang it up and there you are. Eating together is very much a tribal thing, bring a bigger pot for communal meals, or bring any spare pot you do not require anymore. Cutlery, plates/bowls and mugs are a must! Oh and we will supply each village with the staples and some vegetables. Cook, stir, add flavour and eat.

We hope that some of the previous villages will return, Whitegums, Rainbow, Tiny kitchen etc..

Please do not worry about the police issue we have at the moment, having had legal advice it looks as if the issue will be resolved.
People who need to arrive early to set up their village, please indicate this on your e-ticket questionnaire (when it is announced)
Villages applying for a budget, please send the details to you need to fill out the forms in my previous post.
Who knows, we may end up with Three Festivals a year ?!

And here a message from Trevor Pitt
For anyone requiring access to the Confest site prior to the gates opening we are setting up a register so we know who will be on site.
If you require early access please
with your name, dates you plan to be on site, and reason for your early access request. Your name can then be added to the register. This will allow everyone to know who will be on site and assist planning etc.

And that is all from me , sorry to make it so short

The Down to Earth Co-op Society has been organising ConFest (Conference/ Festival) for the last 26 years. We are a completely volunteer organisation. The first ConFest was held at Cotter River, ACT in 1976 with the aim of `transforming society. ConFest was started as an 'alternative living' festival in the 1970's by Jim Cairns (then Deputy Prime Minister) and his assistant Junie Morosi and others.
ConFest regularly attracts thousands of people from all cultures and backgrounds. Children are part of the ConFest community. The early ConFests were organised by an informal network. Down To Earth was incorperated in Victoria in 1979, and continues to organise ConFest. DTE is not connected with any religion or political organisation.
One of the ways to enrich your ConFest experience is to help in preparing the site. Seek information on arrival. Many volunteers are also needed during and in the first couple of days after ConFest.
Two hours minimum work is included as part of your ticket price. Task rosters will be set up in the Volunteer tent. Fill out a time in the activity of your choice after you've set up your camp.

You are needed for ConFest to run smoothly.


For first timers ConFest can be challenging. Set up a camping spot, relax, join in and make friends.

Workshops, play shops, singing, dancing, discussions, tai chi, yoga, jamming, alternative technology, vegetarian market, fire twirling, circus skills, meditations, walking, swimming and more. You may have some skill or thoughts you'd like to share with others. Create your own workshop. Advertise it on the workshop boards. ConFest is as much you as it is any other person. Be free to just do your own thing. Create or join with a village that is your flavour.


ConFest is a camp-out. Bring simple camping gear, some food, a hat, a water bottle, sun block or protective clothing, personal medications, insect repellent, torch, musical instruments, light footwear. Bring some warm clothes as the nights may be cold. Earplugs can be good for blocking out noise when you want to sleep. Remember to bring earphones for your radio, CD or MP3 player,
It is good to bring a cup, a plate and cutlery for use at any of the community cooking spaces. As you wander about ConFest carry a cup and have a cuppa at the community spaces.
Consider bringing drums, trumpets, guitars, singing voices, art and painting gear, anything unusual. Most essential of all, bring yourself and your spirit of ConFest.


Arriving in daylight allows for ease in setting up your camp. For safety reasons cars are restricted from moving arround the ConFest site at night. If you arrive at sunset of later, you will be need to remain outside the front gate. During the evening on the first days of the ConFest, groups of cars waiting outside the Road Gate are escorted to the Ticket gate and then moved to an overnight area within easy walking distance to the ConFest site. Cars are not driven on the site at night. Please pack your sleeping gear so that it's easily accessible. You will be able to walk into the ConFest site. The Ticket Gate is set well into the ConFest Site from the Road entrance gate.

For safety, the road entrance gate maybe locked after dark and reopened in the morning.
If you want to leave the ConFest after dark, take your car outside the road gate before dark, and walk out to your car when you are ready to leave,

There are provisions in place for emergency vehicles, Ambulance, Fire, Police.


There are usually three alternatives if you come to ConFest by car.


This is fixed carparking for ConFesters who will not be moving their cars until the end of ConFest . It is situated closer to the carfree camping area to make it easier to get gear to the camp site. Hand trolleys and barrows are there to help move your gear.


You may have your car, caravan, camper, truck, etc at your camp. Your vehicle must remain stationary while you are ConFest. Once camped you can travel to town with others if need be. Your vehicle cannot be moved from this area till the end of ConFest.


This area is for people who wish to camp with their car but come and go during ConFest:

People who are camping in CARFREE may also leave their cars in ACCESS,

We encourage the minimisation of traffic by car pooling and better still, by being organised so that you don't need to go into town during the ConFest.
Make sure that you check gate hours, before you leave the ConFest site, if you intend to return.

Cooking will be done in approved fire circles in regulation fire drums. NO small fires are allowed

BE CONSCIOUS and considerate.
FIRE BAN days must be adhered to, so also bring "no cooking needed" tucker.
SMOKERS Please remember to dispose of your butts with care. ConFest is out in the bush and fire is a major worry, also many people are bare foot. Please bring a portable pocket ash tray for your ash and buts.


Bring as little as possible and take your rubbish home. Organic matter can be thrown down a toilet. Avoid bringing glass as it is dangerous for bare feet.

Remember NO PETS.

NO PETS allowed at all. NOT in the car-park, NOT in the camp, NOT left outside the site.

Be kind to your pets and organise a friend early to mind them, or check out a local kennel or person to help.


In specific villages- ie; Healing, Massage, Spiritual, etc - the use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol is banned.


Explore wellbeing ways - drumming, dancing, storytelling and friendly chats at firecircles. Make links with others. Relax among new friends. Share healing ways in hundreds of workshops and mini-conferences. Have an outdoor massage (over 30 tables). Go into the steam lodge. Have a swim.
Slow down in a safe friendly environment. Dance the nights away with thousands under the Southern Stars.

ConFest (Conference/Festival) is a gathering of people wishing to share talents, skills, ideas, concerns and philosophies in a caring fun loving and tolerant atmosphere. The presentation of workshops, demonstrations, entertainments and the maintenance of site facilities are all performed by volunteers, monetary payment is neither accepted nor made.

At ConFest, people often set up villages with differing themes, some of the villages have been: Healing Village (a wide range of healing ways), Spiritual Village (spiritual ways and ceremonies), Arts Village (all forms of art,mud bath and hot tub), Families Village, Spiral Village (drumming/well-being), Yoga Village, etc. etc.. Little is pre-planned and events happen spontaneously. ConFest is a very unique event and all attending speak of the 'ConFest spirit' as something very special. In the Music Village, and at odd spaces around our site, performers include acoustic, folk, jazz, reggae, world and indigenous musical acts as well as some circus, theatre, comedy and poetry on an open air stage. As well spontaneous music, dance and art events and happenings that can emerge anywhere at any time. Once inside, all events are free. Join us for a fabulous communal experience.


There are times when some of us would like some time out/especially young mothers. Why not come in to the libary for some quiet time as a good book is as good as a friend. Reading gives us flights of joy and fancy as one takes magic carpet rides to visit other times and faraway places. The library system runs on borrow a book, exchange a book if you can.
If you have any good books you would pass on to a friend, why not donate then to confest library. The books can be for all ages [in reasonable condition please] It is run voluntarily for ConFesters. We have around four hundred books at the moment.


Drinking water, cold showers, pit style toilets and regulation fire pits are provided.
Showers and toilets provided are basic and adequate. There is good swimming and lots of shade trees on site.
When selecting a camp site, look up and check the trees for dangerous branches.

If in doubt seek advise.


Down To Earth has a non negotiable "No Disposables" rule for ConFest.

Please bring a Mug, Plate, Bowl and Cutlery for use at the
the Community Cooking Spaces.

Please be aware of the amount of potential garbage you bring on site, and please take all non compostable garbage away with you when you leave.


Everything is spontaneous. Just write topic/theme and time/place on workshop/conference notice boards. There will be a number of shaded areas for events to take place.


This means ConFesters can wear, or not wear anything they chose. Everywere at ConFest is clothes optional. Don't be surprised to have a naked ticket collector when you arrive at the ConFest gate. Clothing can range from nothing, to body paint, a coat of mud, a sheet, a fairy costume, even a ball gown or dinner suit. At ConFest, clothing is not gender specific. There is just one simple rule, respect other ConFester's choices.

Maps are placed near the front gate, at information and at the noticeboards.


People with disabilities, that require special assistance with access to their cars on site, will be helped where-ever possible, please ask. If you require a helper/carer they will get in for free. We try, please let us know how we can help

Fire at ConFest

There are strict conditions imposed on the use of fire.
We cannot use any device that has a flame, outside a prepared, approved and signed, fire circles.
Definitely not in any tent. This includes candles, kero lamps, pressure lamps, gas lamps, gas stoves, metho or kero stoves.

Anything with a flame!

'Obie' a ConFest First aid Co-ordinator said:
"I am so happy that fire is limited at ConFest. I saw the look on peoples faces when their tent and all their gear was burnt to nothing by a candle. I still remember the screaming of each of the little children that I treated in First Aid for burnt feet, hands or legs from campfires that were'nt extinguished properly, that is "blacked out". If you had heard the screaming of the toddler who fell face first into a campfire you would not question the need to strictly limit the use of fire at ConFest."

If you been to ConFest you will have experienced the fire spaces. Each space is scraped and sanded to reduce dust. There are half drums for the fires.and three burner gas stoves with gas provided. There are a number of trolley mounted four burner BBQ's for community use at the fire circles.
The only flame allowed at ConFest is a cooking fire in these circles. If you don't like walking, camp near a fire circle.

      If you have to have your own personal camp fire,

      If, with all the lighting alternatives avaliable, you must use a flame for lighting.

      If you won't cook with other people at a community fire space,

It could be ConFest isn't the right place for you       

ConFest works with the energy and participation of the people who attend. Everybody shares the responability. When you enter ConFest you leave the mainstream world of "service delivery" behind. You become a participant in the wellbeing of the ConFest community.

Please be open to joining with others and prepare some meals together. Often people who are at ConFest for the first time, are alone. Seek them out and encourage them to join with you in a meal.

If you have some pots, pans, saucepans, plates, knives forks and spoons, due for retirement, bring them to ConFest for the fire circle communities.

      ConFest is a community. 

We all share the responsibility.       


Go to Down To Earth Co-op home page


17/1/2013   153894