Welcome to this web edition of the December 2004 Down To Earth ConFest newsletter
                 The printed version is A3 format and we are reproducing it unchanged.
                 You will need to scroll left to right, as well as up and down, to view it all.
                 The copy of the poster has been ommitted but can be found elsewere on this site
                 The pictures are in full color, not B&W as in the printed version.

Down To Earth News December 2004

Hi all,
       This is a little reminder that we need your help at ConFest. As I hope you know from information on our website, etc., ConFest happens only because people in the ConFest community give their time to make it happen.You may know that most of the people who volunteer to set up and help make ConFest run are getting quite old and tired and we need younger folks to give a hand.To help you to help “do” ConFest, some volunteers have set up a VOLUNTEERING centre. This was first put into operation during the last Easter ConFest. You simply rock up to VOLUNTEERING, (near the First Aid & Information in the DTE village) check out the binders and noticeboard for a task that suits your ConFest life and have one of our lovely volunteers sign you in for a suitable, available time. ConFest= sharng community.
VOLUNTEERING has been likened to doing a workshop, in that you can come away feeling uplifted, appreciated, newly skilled, befriended, confused yet determined, loved and so on.
During the festival we need volunteers in many areas including the following:
*FRONT GATE, *INFORMATION, *, *FIRE PATROLL, *PARKING GUIDES, *VOLUNTEERING, *FENCE REPAIRS, *COMMUNITY KITCHENS and other tasks, incidentals, odds & ends.  Just drop in to VOLUNTEERING to find out more.
Remember people who are doing“stuff”at ConFest to help “it” run, have volunteered and sometimes they get tired, hot, flustered and grumpy but they are doing a job because they LOVE ConFest, they BELIEVE in ConFest and they want it to continue happening. Help our volunteers by signing up for something so other volunteers can get a break, do a workshop, have a swim, share some love…just like you.Have a wonderful ConFest…I hope to see and meet you there.Love Carole from VOLUNTEERING.
Please note: Working on a Commercial Market stallis not included as ConFest VOLUNTEERING even if you are only paid with food.
Carole Pyers

ConFest means different things to different people which is understandable when you consider that the people attending represent the greatest age and socio-economic ranges you will ever come across together in one~gathering.

Babes in arms or carry packs are common. So are prams, kids young and old on pushbikes at varying speeds and degrees of safety to themselves and others through to slow sedate strolls often assisted by walking sticks. The differences in age at ConFest disappear. Smile and say Hi to anyone and they usually smile back.
Text Box: At night comes the 5 million star restaurant, a sight very rarely seen in the city.

It's also the greatest motor show on earth. Work at front gate while they are pouring in and observe the latest 4WD's, old bangers that would never pass a roadworthy, a nearly new Porsche, a brand new Saab convertible, converted buses that saw service 40 years ago, a limo and pride and joy Holdens twice as old as their owners. They all come to Con Fest.

The range and style of vehicles is huge. So too is the variety of accommodation that spreads around the site. Large family tents, $50 K-Mart specials by the hundreds, mosquito netting covering a hollow tree, to just tarpaulins and bare dirt beneath them.

The economic standing of the campers too is huge from those who could well afford a European holiday every year to those who barely survive between Centrelink cheques

Why does ConFest attract such a diverse range of people? Well, that is the magic of ConFest! So it takes a week at home to get the dirt out from under your toenails and the T shirts you have been wearing are now only good to wash the car with. And trying to sleep on an inner spring mattress between clean sheets near impossible after a week on an airbed in a sleeping bag.

But who cares. Returning to the city after a week of no TV, newspapers, radios, telephones and discovering that the World has gone on quite nicely without you thank you , makes you wonder do we really need traffic lights, road rage, sirens and incessant noise, although drumming at 4.30 am comes close.

Its a week out of your life where words and pictures are simply not adequate. How do you describe atmosphere, serenity, friendships made, escapism and a sense of adventure into areas that were previously unknown to you in your normal life? Work side by side with qualified chefs, plumbers or electricians and soak up the knowledge or just lie on a banana lounge with a book or watching the mobile scenery. The choice is yours.

Whatever you decide to do it is a week out of your life that has no comparison with any other holiday you will ever have.
Max Pascoe
Text Box: Summer ConFest  Wednesday the 29th December 2004 to Tuesday 4th January 2005

ConFest will be at the Gulpa Creek site near Deniliquin.We are still low on volunteer energy, particularly during the year.The ConFest Committee does not have the resources to have tickets avaliable through ticket vendors throughout Eastern Australia.
Tickets will only be avaliable at the ConFest gate.          
The price will be a 'non negotiable' $50

The Committee believes that it is important that every person at ConFest has a ticket,
 and we will be introducing a $1 ticket for all children under 16 years of age.
All children must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. 

Please have the correct money for your tickets when you arrive at the gate.
Text Box: International Guests

DTE has invited two international guests to ConFest over the New Year. They are Chanto from Cambokids in Phnomn Penh in Cambodia and Vu Cong from the Street Kids Voluntary Support Network. Both do extra-ordinary work and will be active in the ConFest Workshop Scene. 240 children a day come to Chantos child friendly space. Vu Cong has just finished his PhD in Cosmic Anthropology exploring the region's spiritualities and their potential role in reconmstituting society. Both are very interested in finding out how ConFest hasppens with a vewe to explore Conference Festival in their own countries.                                  
                                                      Wouldn't Anchor Wat be an extraordinary venue for a ConFest
Text Box: Sydney ConFesters Festival 
26th-30th January 2005
Over Australia Day holiday period 1˝ hrs from Sydney
In the beautiful bushland setting of Lower Mangrove Mountains 1˝ hrs north of Sydney you can experience:
¨ Swimming		 ¨ Fires			¨ Learning
¨ Fun Workshops	 ¨ Dancing		¨ Community & teamwork
¨ Idea sharing		 ¨ Camping		¨ Drumming
Together we will create our own communal meals, shelters, facilities, steam room and hot tub. Everyone is welcome – no specific skills and experience are required. Families, children and first timers are welcome. Please join us !
This gathering is in addition to the Summer & Easter ConFests held at Deniliquin. 
Cost is only $45 and includes main meals, facilities, camping costs and GST.  You need to bring your own personal camping gear.  Full details will be provided on booking
.Details/bookings- Greg O'Donnell (02)9960 5443/ 
Text Box: Sydney ConFesters
During Easter ConFest 2003  at Gulpa Creek, a number of meetings were held to explore the possibility of having a ConFest near to Sydney. A group of people began to meet in Sydney. In order to gather energy they started to have small gatherings. They called  them ConFester’s Gatherings.

The Sydney Group have been working within the management structure of DTE.
DTE has assisted them with insurance cover and finance. They have had a number of Gatherings, each one growing a little from the previous. 
You can get more details on the DTE web site. Click on  the SYDNEY   link on the front page. 
The purpose of the ConFesters weekends is for people interested in creating and supporting a ConFest in the Sydney region to bond, develop skills, learn about ConFest and have fun!
The weekends are about community….. helping and sharing in activities including setting up, communal meals, creating facilities, running and attending workshops and packing up. It’s open to everyone including families with children – no specific skills or requirements are needed.  
Hot tub!ConFesters Gatherings will be held regularly throughout the year. The Gatherings are reasonably priced. 

Ticket price includes main meals, facilities, camping costs and GST. You need to bring your own personal camping gear.
There is a gathering in January 2005 
Text Box: Fire at ConFest

We require a Shire Permit to have ConFest on the Gulpa Creek site. The Shire have imposed strict conditions on the use of fire.   We cannot have any device that has a flame, outside the  prepared and signed areas.Definitely not in any tent. 
This includes candles, kero lamps, pressure lamps, gas lamps, gas stoves, metho or kero stoves. 
Anything with a flame!

If you were at the Easter ConFest you will have experienced the fire spaces.
Each space had been scraped and sanded to reduce dust. There were half drums for the fires.and three burner gas stoves with gas provided. The only flame allowed at ConFest is a cooking fire in these areas. You can bring your own portable cooker to the fire circle

Down To Earth has sourced a number of trolley mounted four burner BBQ's for community use at the fire circles this ConFest.                              If you don't like walking, camp near a fire space.

The future of ConFest depends on your continuing supporting for this fire process.

Without land there can be no ConFest. In these litigous times, we cannot have a ConFest without full insurance cover for the Down To Earth Co-op, it's Directors and officers. Land owners are very reluctant to lease land and expose them selves to such risk. Civic officers are judicious in protecting the interests of the local community.

      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,
Text Box: 'What we have begun here, and what we will begin from what has begun here, has drawn out of dreams a reality for which humankind has, in the past, shown itself prepared to kill, it is a reality we have achieved because we have been prepared to love.

Our wholeness has come from the experiences of our common origin and drawn us through the difficulties of diversity, our attitudes and lifestyles, to a unity so deep and abiding, that not one of us who has shared this experience will leave without being deeply changed.

We have reached into each other here and found ourselves, where once many of us were afraid to touch each other, afraid to be intimate, afraid of the thought of love. We have in a few short days, broken through into a consciousness that is so powerful in its newness, that it is as yet difficult to describe.

We are each the manifesto of the Down to Earth Movement. We are the ones who will carry what was once a dream, and continue it as a reality. No words can say what we are. No words can tell the impact we shall achieve as examples of what happened here; we are the ones, and we no longer need words'

(ConFestors at Cotter River ConFest Dec, 1976).
Text Box:    Food To Share
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.

The theme for this Festival is   Food to share.
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.