A couple weeks back I found myself on an overpriced flight to Sydney en route to the third (kind of) annual Wonderwalls Festival in Wollongong (I say ‘kind of’ because WW skipped The Gong last year, instead gracing the walls of Port Adelaide, ahhhh whaddaya gonna do? I say potato, you say, “shut up and keep typing, tappy!”).
Once at Sydney airport, the legend that is Simon (of Wonderwalls behind the scenes fame) hit me on the scoop and we got the fuck outta dodge. Next stop: The Gong.
Wollongong is a couple of hours out of Sydney and we had to do a couple of trips back and forward to the airport to grab a couple of Ironlakians later that day. These trips were mostly about catching up, ordering the most expensive ‘Create Your Taste’ burger possible on Maccas pitstops and trying avoid the general delirium of the not-so-open road. The lowest point (or highest, depending how you look at it) was when we got stuck in a pre-football traffic jam just outside the airport for an hour without moving. Simon was yelling ridiculously from the van window, and I was loooooosing it. Two grown men laughing like little schoolgirls, I laughed so hard I seriously thought my head was gonna explode. I guess you had to be there…
Anyway, first order of business was getting the ‘Lost & Found’ photography exhibition set up with Selina Miles. Loosely themed around graffiti travel, we had photos from nine adventurers and a day to get them up on the gallery wall. I didn’t see much sunshine that day (and still managed to get sunburned).
The next three days were spent cruising from wall to wall and catching chat with old friends and new. The line-up for this event featured some amazing talent from all over the place, some of whom are friends that I only get to spend time with away from home. We had such a good crew and it was excellent getting some hang time in. Special mention to birthday boy Fintan Magee, who wasn’t painting, but showed up anyway and forced us into an evening of slippery floors and bad karaoke bars.
On Sunday, when all was said and done, I was really feeling the velocity of Wonderwalls 2015. It was over quicker than it began! Good times were had, Wollongong was blessed with some incredible new murals and it was time to pack it in. With the football grand finals happening in Sydney that night, we decided that it would be best to stay until after the Cowboys vs Broncos game. After a near miss, the North QLD Cowboys took the game to victory and we squeezed into Big LINZ’s ride back to SYD. LINZ (a Cowboys fan) was pretty excited on the recent victory and provided a pretty amusing ride out of The Gong with a healthy dose of banter from the car window.
Peace out Wollongong.
Thanks to Simon, Nummy and the WW team for digging deep and making this event happen. Thanks to all the heads who came down to check out the artwork.”
ARTIST ROLLCALL: SOFLES, LINZ, REALS, MEKS, BERST, Vans The Omega, Felipe Pantone, Guido Van Helten, BAFCAT, Amok Island, BMD, DVATE, Georgia Hill, Cam Scale, PHIBS, BONES, PUDL, SNARL, BLENDS, J2SKE, REUP Crew, Sam Clouston and Mikey Freedom.
Photos by Luke Shirlaw