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Fireside Fancies

Catching the spark up on Wahluu

Playing Bathurst Goldfields
Songs, poems, stories and dances
Campfire Fun atop Wahluu / Mount Panorama 

I played my first gigs for the museum in 1996 / 1997. As I write this, I’ve played ‘Goldfields’ for twenty-six years, for over two hundred thousand kids. Chloë and I joined with the inimitable, and wonderfully talented Mike Martin in ‘Jindi’ - Mike introduced me to the whole ethos of playing for and with kids. We quickly moved on to playing the gig as a duo without Mike. The show changed significantly at that point. Then - when our own kids came along - I took the gig on solo, and the show changed radically to suit. It’s a unique show, no doubt - fundamentally bespoke. It never fails, and is broad enough to shift and grow in the moment. The show was eventually examined for how many Primary Ed Outcomes it meets - the examiner “lost count”, but made a great report, outlying all the KLAs that the show meets. For me though, the foundation is experiential campfire yarning goodness. It is ALWAYS great fun! 


Amongst those performances, I’ve also played for university students, international schools - adult shows, and seen the overwhelming delta spreading of primary and high-school education in Australia. I’ve played for every kind of public school, and for the full spread of overwhelmingly diverse private schools - from the poshest of posh to battlerest of battlers, all shades of Christian, all shades of Islamic, Jewish… Then there’s Steiner and others. Others! Huge city schools, tiny one teacher all-ages bush schools - from all over Australia, and beyond. I’ve played for two to two hundred kids at a time - I always play without PA, except for the dancing bringing in some real rock and roll - the rockin’ riff from Nirvana’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit lifts the (lack of) roof of the dance (lack of) floor, amongst the beautiful bush tunes. The rest of the show is unplugged, and based on complete buy-in from every child. While the engagement from teachers varies, I do get offered a job in a surprising number of schools.


It can be icy. The wildlife - Roos, birds, rabbits, foxes, insects and spiders, and occasional snake play cameos - I actively engage them in any show… You try and compete with them! My main campfire is home to me, the best spot on the world, with a view to match. It’s the best gig in the world!

- Jason Roweth

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