A Weekend in the Country: A History of the Meredith Music Festival (2006)

Director: Robert McCafferty

Tagline: One of the world's greatest music festivals finally on screen

I admit I have not had the opportunity to go to Meredith as yet as it always sells out really quickly and I never seem to know anyone who is going. I have been closer to it than I thought though as I stood right next to Chris Nolan and his family at the Dirty Three concert at the Spanish Club. The way Joel Silbersher talked to the family that night I knew there was something special about them.

The documentary kicks off with a bang with You Am I's performance in 2005. One of the best things about this film is that it shows full performances of the bands in question. It is always frustrating in music documentaries when they only show clips from a band as it is meant to be about the music and it is a total tease to not let you see that.

The archival footage of the first few years of the festival was great as in 1991 the festival was held from the back of a truck with about 200 people in back paddock. There are some great stories told by the organisers and through the footage of that time (I liked the sheep story), and also the photos from the festival are very well chosen. If I went to the festival myself I would probably spend most of the time taking photos of people around the festival site and might take a couple of shots of bands if I had the time.

Other bands that featured in the film were the Powdermonkeys (2004), the Fireballs, Spiderbait (2000), Dirty Three during a thunder storm (2004), Beasts of Bourbon (2003) and Hilltop Hoods (2004) amongst many others. I also recognised someone from one of the crowd scenes which is another thing which makes this DVD great as a lot of people will buy it to look for themselves in the crowd.

The Meredith Gift footage was very funny as was the coverage of JK's nude marathon from Langwarrin to the Meredith that took 22 days (he arrived on the last day of the festival.)

As the director of The Harder They Come said, there is something special about being the first person to represent a culture on screen. Although there might be other films about Meredith in the future, this one will be the people remember as it was the first one to bring it to the screen and share some of the experience with people who may not have gone there before.

Rating: 8/10

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