Dragon Dreaming Festival 2022

So after a very long hiatus, caused by questionable NSW government decisions and a global pandemic, the Dragon Dreaming ‘bush doof’ returned to the banks of Lake Burrinjuck near Wee Jasper. The last time this festival was on was in 2018 and Rosie hadn’t been able to make that one due to pregnancy.

This was to be the longest we’ve been away from Ollie. We’d flown my mother down to look after him especially for the occasion. If nothing else, getting 3 nights away from a toddler was going to be worth it.

We decided to take the tent instead of staying in the back of the van. The thought was that the tent gives us extra space and privacy compared to the van. With no toddler to take, and no child car seat, that meant there was a huge amount of room for everything else. We seldom do 3 night stays in a single place, so we were determined to be as comfortable as possible.

The Thursday night before leaving we had Elle stay over so we could meet as a convoy early-ish on Friday morning. Despite everyone being determined not to make the night before a big one, many drinks were had as we tried and failed to get dinner delivered from 2 different places. We both did a RAT test that night as it was a condition of entry.

Sneaky maccas

On Friday morning we met up with Casey in Weston Creek for some sneaky Maccas, then headed off through Uriarra Crossing towards Wee Jasper. The roads were very clear and we got to Wee Jasper without any incident. There were a couple of tour buses we had to avoid while on some steep mountain roads, but we pulled off to let them pass. We were a little surprised to find very few other festival goers on the road though.

Winding roads down to Wee Jasper

No police check to be found, and we made our way to an almost deserted entry around 10am. It was there that we found out that a lot of people had taken advantage of the early bird entry and had come through on the Thursday.

This meant that the closer campsites had been completely filled up and we had to find a space quite a distance away from the actual festival site. This later worked out fine for us, as there was less loud ‘doof doof’ noises throughout the night to keep you awake.

Awesome tattoo

With about a 1km walk each way to and from the festival site, it did mean that preparation was key, as you had a limited number of drinks and food that you could take with you. In future we may look into buying a beach cart or similar to bring along enough supplies to last the whole day.

After finding a relatively flat site about half-way up a hill, we got to setting up. The two van awnings were merged to provide a huge amount of cover for our crew, which was good as there was a bit of rain this trip. With two tents on one side, a separate ensuite tent and Elle’s SUV blocking the other way, we had a good bit of real estate with minimal access for other people to walk through our area. A bit of insect spray took care of subduing (but not destroying) the two ant nests that were in the vicinity.

Setup was relatively quick and helped along by a few beers and/or wines. With a no glass rule in place, we mostly drank from cans or box wine for the entire weekend. After setting up we chucked on some colorful clothes, loaded up the backpack with drinks and went to see the festival site proper. The setup turned out to be very similar to years past, with the stages, markets, art and food all in the same places as 2018. After a brief walkaround and paddle in the lake, we went back to the van to prepare for the upcoming night.

Paddle in the lake

Casey’s van roof proved to be in a prime position to watch more and more people arrive, and continue to drink. It turned out that we had actually gotten a good spot. As more and more people arrived, campsites started springing up further and further away from the festival. Suddenly we weren’t at the edge of the campgrounds, but in the middle.

Van roofs are the best

That night we went out and checked out the stages and music acts. Food was poutine with pulled pork on top from one of the stalls. We had a great first night out and got back to camp around 2am.

Chips and gravy and pulled pork

Once back, Rosie went to bed and the rest of us ended up chatting with the young people camped next to us. They were festival newbies and we ended up spending most of the rest of the doof with them. Bed at 4.30am for me, something of a bad idea in retrospect.

The next day we all woke up late and shuffled around the campsite trying to wake up enough to get through the day. A few energy drinks and some beers and we were all good again. The rain had come through overnight and it settled in fairly constantly on this Saturday. We were pretty well set up in our tent and campsite, but other campers weren’t so lucky.

Saturday morning start
Overcast day with frequent showers

Saturday night is the big opening night of the festival, so everyone dresses in their very best (worst?) outfits and gets ready for a big night. I hung around the campsite all day (very tired), but the others managed to make it to the festival site for a look around.

Market stalls
Rosie got a pizza without me 🙁

We got to the main stage just before sunset and watched the opening ceremony, then partied out until late. With daylight savings kicking in at 2am that night, we’ve no idea of times.

Indigenous opening ceremony
Main (Air) stage
Dragon above main stage
All packed in right after opening ceremony
Love Shack jam tent – mixed music, some good, some bad, some amazing
On top of the bus overlooking Earth stage.
Another dragon
Earth stage – not the best music, but a great atmosphere

Sunday opened the same as Saturday, with some light drizzle and gusts of wind. Breakfast was fajitas, an unplanned but excellent breakfast meal.

Good morning

Me and Rosie hung around the campsite for a while, including a sneaky nap. On finishing up we loaded up with drinks and went to see what the festival was up to. We found an excellent couch looking over one of the stages and snuggled down into that out of the wind. Once our drinks dried up, we moved back to the campsite and stayed there for a chill last evening.

Out of the wind, watching hip hop and drinking beers
Beautiful Sunday sunset

Monday morning had a bit better weather than previous days, and we ended up going for a quick dip with our new friends in the freezing cold lake. While refreshing, no one could stand the water very long.

Morning swim (skinny dippers welcome)

With that we slowly packed up our little campsite. We were ready to leave around noon. The drive home was quick and uneventful – we got stuck behind a very slow P plater, but so did everyone else and there was no hurry to get home. There was a police checkpoint on the way out, but we didn’t get pulled over or tested.

Police checkpoint – straight through, cow checkpoint though, couple of minutes wait

This camping trip was the first time we had used the camp toilet. Set up in its own ensuite tent, it worked out really well. The toilet situation at these festivals has been bad in previous years, but this year it seemed to be a little better looked after. That said, having our own private toilet with no line was amazing. Emptying it wasn’t as good, but not that bad overall. With Ollie toilet trained I think this piece of kit will make it into our standard equipment for more remote campsites. It’s very bulky though, so I need to find a place to store it in the van while travelling.

The awning mounted shower tent was also used to very good effect. Rosie had a shower in it and immediately perked up, and the tent got a lot of other use as well. Very happy with this purchase, especially considering the price.

Brightest lights this side of the mountain

The vans battery system continues to do the job without any issues. Despite the overcast and rainy days, with the 200W roof solar panel and another 200W supplementary solar blanket we borrowed, the battery had no problem charging up each day. The milk frother and everyone’s devices were all easily run from the van, and at night several high powered LED light strings were left on to guide us home. Apparently the brightly lit van was a beacon for dreamers coming home at night, so we even helped out other people.

A big shoutout was definitely deserved for the police presence at the festival compared to the last one. The last festival they had shipped in an excessive amount of police from Sydney and they were very heavy handed and quite rude/aggressive. This festival though all the cops were from the Yass region, there were much less of them and they did a great job of chatting with everyone and letting people have a good time.

All up we had a great time at the festival. We’ll definitely consider going next year as well, possibly with Ollie this time when he’s a little older.

Scott Written by:

Comments are closed.