Elsewhere, people looking to build their own tiny homes from scratch can expect costs to fall roughly in the same ballpark as those found on eBay, with Tiny House By Hangan offering building plans from $30k to $70k, depending on your taste and desired size.
While $70k is definitely a fair whack on the old bank account, you are guaranteed a property that’s all yours, so in the grand scheme of things, it’s a straight-up bargain. You can also rent out your tiny home to recoup some of the costs (just something to think about).
For some inspo, we spoke to Tiny Home-owner to be Cathrine Macri on her upcoming plans to make the transition.
“I’m talking to a few tiny builders currently, trying to work out where to park it, what I want to be included and, most importantly, if I want to climb a ladder to get to my bed every night,” she semi-jested.
Cathrine also toyed with the idea of looking into a unit, but ultimately thought it was still too exxy. “I thought that I could possibly look to put down a deposit for a unit, but it’s still so far out of my reach (thanks Sydney housing market).
Look, same. I gave up on the idea of living in one of those gigantic houses a while ago, so if anyone needs me I’ll be dreaming about the tiny home life.
The older I get, the more I realise living in a giant mansion would be more work than it’s worth.
No, for me, I’d be more content in a teeny tiny home that only takes me half an hour to clean top to bottom. Imagine having seven bathrooms you had to clean on the reg? Thanks, but no bloody thanks.
As more people turn to tiny homes as a convenient and more affordable way to own your dream abode, it seems only reasonable to actually find out how much money you have to funnel into the venture.
As it turns out, the houses themselves aren’t really the biggest cost – it’s finding somewhere to put them.
A quick squiz over on eBay shows tiny homes going from anywhere between $30k and $110k for a fancier version like the one below, which is still a far cry from the million-dollar price tag homes in Melbourne and Sydney seem to be going for on the reg.
LUKE, JESS AND TROOPY ROCKET
But how can the average person just drop everything and afford life on the road? Sure, Luke and Jess don’t have mortgages or kids to worry about, so naturally the transition wasn’t as difficult as someone who has quite sturdy roots in place, however it is still possible.
Luke and Jess were lucky enough to garner a following through videos they uploaded as well as blogging their various endeavours, which means they’ve been able to recoup some of the costs from their life in the van through advertising and partnerships.
As this isn’t the case for the average explorer, the couple have laid out a rough budget on their As We Wander blog for complete transparency on how much an outback journey would cost, breaking down every expense such as petrol, food, accommodation (should you want a break from the four-wheeled abode) and, most importantly, activities.
If you’re going to hit the road you have to live a little, so factoring in bucket list-worthy ventures like snorkelling and fishing to your overall budget is important.
Again, not everyone is going to be able to quit their jobs and follow a similar path to Jess and Luke, but there are still plenty of options.
If you have a nine-to-five that requires a physical presence in the office, start planning your next 4WD trip to the Northern Territory, or Broome, or wherever it is in Australia you haven’t yet explored. It’s the best of both worlds – you can satisfy that itch to travel, all the while knowing you have a job to go back to (and a job that’s paying you to take the holiday, given you have enough annual leave).
On the flipside, if you’re in a position to work remotely, follow Luke and Jess’ lead (work permitting) and invest in your own Troopy Rocket, kit it out so you can live in it, and start your journey to wherever you please while working remotely when needed.
If you think you’re ready to bite the bullet and live out your wildest outback fantasy, the enviable couple have even provided some tips on choosing and converting a campervan on their site, which you can read up on here.
Go on, you know you want to. That cushy suburban living can wait until your late 50s.
There isn’t one Australian who hasn’t thought about packing it all up and bailing on their average, day-to-day life.
That might be a broad generalisation but it wouldn’t be a risky wager to assume everyone has, however briefly, had that ‘what if’ moment. Perhaps when something goes particularly wrong, or if you’re just stuck in a rut, the thought of leaving it all behind can be a comforting one.
Luke and Jess, an Australian and New Zealand couple, not only had that thought, they acted on it.
Ditching their respective nine-to-fives back in 2017, the pair purchased a Toyota van they fondly named Troopy Rocket and have been galavanting around Australia ever since, venturing to Kangaroo Island, Fraser Coast all the way to the Red Centre, documenting their travels every step of the way.
I’m not sure how usual business models go, but I can only assume having the literal phone number to call in the name of his business helped Joey get to this point.
“What do you feel like?”
“Done. Who should we order from?”
“Love it, what’s the number? I’ll call ’em.”
“Ah yep, no that makes sense.”
“I know :(“
Genius marketing. Well played indeed, Joey.
If you can think about nothing but lasagne now, you know who to call.
In 2021, Joey’s business has exploded, granting him the ability to set up a temporary restaurant in Fitzroy with a capacity of 50 punters.
The quality of the lasagne has remained top-tier, naturally, so the restaurant is almost always packed to the gills with punters fanging for a bite.
While there’s obviously a lot more to it behind the scenes, the notion that you can go from an idea – in this instance, lasagne delivery and a shotty car – to a full-blown restaurant in the space of five years is an exciting one for anyone who’s also got their sights set on a self-made enterprise.
As the old, tired saying goes: there’s no time like the present, so if you need a good ol’ kick up the bum, this could very well be it. Get your name out there and start working towards the business of your dreams. Avocado pip salesperson, perhaps? It’s niche enough to work (but also that’s my idea so shotgun).
I’ve met exactly one person who disliked lasagne in my lifetime, and that person was quickly and promptly let go.
Not from a job or anything, I simply told them they were let go and then walked off. Talking to strangers in the wild, what a fun pastime that used to be.
No, lasagne is near-universally loved and for good reason – cheese, bechamel sauce, meat or a veggie substitute, carbs – it’s all there in one perfect square.
1800-Lasagne founder and fellow lasagne lover Joey Kellock clocked on to Australia’s (and the world’s) love for the Italian classic, opening his delivery service over five years ago.
Last year, Joey was delivering between 25 and 50 lasagne in a two-hour window, so everyone’s clearly hankering for some comfort food.
Joey’s business started off with nothing more than ingredients, his mate’s car and a conventional oven. Joey would drive across Victoria, delivering his made-in-bulk lasagne to patrons keen on injecting that cheesy carb-bomb directly into their veins.
What’s a day in the life of your job look like?
KB: Most days are spent on set, ‘standing by’. The film industry was initially very cautious allowing drones on set. cowboys in the industry scared off productions for a while, and drone teams got a bad name but these days they are a vital second unit addition to any productions.
I’m usually often having to climb or hike great distances with pelican cases of fragile equipment and heavy batteries. Then we scout and rehearse the shot multiple times then often only get 2-3 shots at capturing a shot in a tiny window of time which translates to only a few seconds on screen.
Sometimes days of driving. Walking. Hiking. Standing by due to weather and waking up at crazy hours chasing sunrises and sunsets and amazing landscapes.
You can check out more of Butti’s work over at his website, Mediaidem.
What’s been the biggest learning curve so far?
KB: FPV [first-person view] racing was hot for a minute on Instagram last year. But it is very very difficult and crashing is expensive. The hardest thing when flying any drone is the balance between getting the money shot while also doing it safely and within your risk assessment parameters.
Where do you see drone photography in five-or-so years?
KB: It would be romantic to believe that drones could one day be an autonomous flying pet that just follows you around and captures your whole life for you but I don’t think that will happen in our lifetime.
Battery weight and flight times are the biggest limiting factors in the industry right now. If anything, the industry is already over-saturated and is in maturity as most people buy a drone, use it once or twice in the park or on a holiday then it goes in the closet for three years.
As an industry, my biggest concern is safety. It’s possible the government would really clamp down on people’s freedoms by banning drones if someone was to be badly hurt in the future. They will always be dangerous, spinning blades of death. So I believe if you want to fly a drone you should be licensed — just like a car — because they are dangerous and can hurt others.
How did you approach entering the industry and building clients?
KB: As an early adopter I had to create the market and educate people about new technology. When I got into drones there was no such thing as a drone license. So my insurer would only insure me if I had a helicopter license so I had to do my private pilot’s license PPL-H and learn to fly a helicopter.
Drones were a natural progression from photography and the video production I was doing. So it was easy for me to sell it to my existing clients. I would bring my drone and add value to my existing clients when I was on a shoot where a drone could be used.
These days, in such a saturated market, it’s hard to differentiate yourself, but at the highest level, when the drones we fly can weigh up to 25kg MTOW (maximum takeoff weight), safety is our primary focus.
Are there significant differences/benefits between drone photography and standard photography?
KB: Both are just tools for storytelling and serve different purposes. Drones are great because you can quickly scout and move around a vast space quickly and cover a large area in a short amount of time. I work for a location scouting company for feature films and TVCs.
And the drone is an essential tool for location scouting. A regular stills camera on the other hand for me is like a scalpel that captures a very specific detail of any given space.
What doors has drone photography opened up for you?
KB: Access. As a news and entertainment photographer in the early 2000s till pretty much when Instagram started, a digital camera on your shoulder was just as good as an AAA card at any event. With drones, it also gave me access to travel and meet a lot of amazing people and see the world.
Drones are an essential part of storytelling now. Most productions on all scales from Indy to features use drone shots for establishing moments. In the last three years, I’ve travelled across four continents including South Africa, all over Australia, Monaco, Cannes in France, Italy, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.
How long did it take you to become proficient at your craft?
KB: I started flying in 2015 and I’m still practising and learning every week.
What made you decide to dive head-first into drone photography?
Ken Butti: In 2015 a photographer friend of mine Remy Gerega sent me a video of the DJI Phantom 2. One of the first recreational drones by DJI. As soon as I saw that video I started researching everything about it and drones and bought that DJI drone within a few days. As a press and entertainment photographer, I knew the possibilities would be endless and wanted to be an early adopter in the market.
Even in the last decade, cameras have evolved from your standard point-and-shoot to something far more agile. The latest development can be found in the relatively new introduction of drones, where photographers have realised they can use the device to capture images that previously would have been far less attainable.
Ken Butti was one of those photographers who adopted drones almost from the get-go and now spends a chunk of his career travelling the world and seeing cities from a perspective that not many of us can say we have. Gizmodo chatted to him about out how he made the transition.
There’s no denying photography has come a long way since this:
As someone who had to lose $500 from a bond because I accidentally put a dent in my rental’s wall with a mattress, the thought of being able to deck out (or dent) your own joint without fear of repercussion is a comforting one.
I say we all do away with the standard and move far into the forest, away from humans, and live a chill life.
YVONNE PFLIEGER & ANDY VOGT
LH: What advice would you give to people who are also thinking of going down the Tiny House route?
YP: Have a very thorough idea of what you want and why you want to go tiny before you start building. Really think about what motivates you and look at alternatives. We love our new life, but it is not for everyone.
Have a think about what you can and want to build yourself. The more you get involved in the building process the better. My partner helped our builder out a couple of days and it is so good to understand how everything fits and works together. Also, the more you get involved the more individual and to your needs and wishes your house will be – and you’ll feel a lot more at home straight away.
We found the perfect builder, but there are others who were not so lucky. So be very careful, do your due diligence and ensure you have a good contract in place that protects you in case of any issues.
Other than that, follow your dreams and keep a positive outlook.
LH: What do you love the most about your current lifestyle? Do you see it changing anytime soon?
YP: We love that we are fully off-grid and can live close to nature in a lovely, peaceful area. We have plenty of privacy, no nosy neighbours and can do what we want. And it is so much cheaper than renting a traditional house or apartment.
Our water and power consumption is minimal now and we have the ability to grow our own fruit and veg and live with the land and not from it.
At the moment we love where we are and don’t see it changing anytime soon.
LH: Would you say you’re closer to your partner now? Did it take long to get used to the close proximity of one another?
YP: Yes, for sure, 2020 was an interesting year. The funny thing is that we are stepping less on each other’s toes in our tiny house compared to when we lived in a regular house. The way the kitchen is laid out makes cooking together a lot easier and due to the limited space, we’re a lot tidier.
It works well being in such proximity. There is only one room (combined living, dining and kitchen with a sleeping loft and a storage loft. The bathroom is the only room with a door), but we have our dedicated spots where we work. Then there is the deck and a lot of grass around us, so we have different options to retreat if we need to.
And cafes and beaches, even co-working spaces are not far in case we need more privacy.
LH: What does a day in the life of a Tiny Home look like?
YP: Actually, not much different to a day in a traditional house, just with more connection to the outdoors. We get up, I often practice yoga or other sports in the morning, some days we might go for a walk or to the beach, then have breakfast at our kitchen bar or outside. Then I switch on my laptop and start working (I’m working for myself as a digital marketing and advertising consultant), my partner is often doing some work around the house as we still have a few things to do, or he is doing some research or work of his own. We have lunch together, work some more.
In the late afternoon, once it cools down, I spend some time in the garden, checking on the veggies and seedlings, sowing new seeds, pottering around, before we have dinner and then stream a series. Quite a normal day I’d say.
We have friends over, too, you’d be surprised how many people can be catered for in a tiny house and its surroundings. We even had two Great Danes visiting once.
On weekends we go to the markets, explore our surroundings, spend time on the beach and with friends and visit our favourite local boutique brewery.
We no longer need to spend hours each day commuting. Oh, and our mobile and internet reception is great despite us being in a semi-rural area.
There are chores from time to time that are unique to a tiny house and/or living off-grid, like emptying your composting toilet every other week or so.
LH: What don’t you miss about traditional houses?
YP: Before we moved into our tiny home we were renting, so we were somewhat limited in what we could do with the rooms, i.e. painting the walls, making it a true home. This is definitely something I don’t miss as now it’s all up to us. We can be as creative as we like and have a teal-coloured kitchen, for example.
LH: What were your initial thoughts after moving in?
YP: Initially, we were very curious to see if we actually liked it. We had never stayed in a tiny house before, so we were a little worried about the available space. But it feels so much more spacious than you would think (our tiny is 8m x 2.4m and 4.3m high with 2 lofts).
At the beginning, we were worried about power (we are relying on our solar panels), how we could fill our water tank (as it was rather dry when we moved in) and how we could live with a composting toilet. But very soon, we got used to everything and realized that we needed much less power and water than we thought.
We also hadn’t realized how much wildlife there is around us. After a couple of weeks we started to notice the plethora of birds, we have kangaroos hopping around and other visitors — even a turtle at some point from the dam.
Lifehacker: When did you decide to embrace the Tiny House lifestyle?
Yvonne Pflieger: My partner Andy and I had always been lovers of the ocean and the beautiful Australian landscapes. We loved life on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and worked in corporate jobs for a long time, renting apartments close to the ocean and paying a lot of money to live there.
Over the years, as Manly became busier and more expensive, we started considering moving up the coast.
Going on a plastic-free journey in 2014 triggered changes in our shopping and consumption behaviours. In 2016, I took the opportunity to move into a four-day part-time role, focusing my spare time on volunteering at a local community-run organic grocery store and co-operative and dog-rescue. This was so much more rewarding than working with corporate clients, so when the time was right in 2019, I resigned from my corporate job, we packed our bags and moved up the coast.
I started my own business focused on working with clients who have similar values, Covid happened and we finally got that push to change our lifestyle and make our dream of living more sustainably a reality.
From what my parents told me of their experience growing up, there was a fairly strict timeline in place — graduate high school, find a partner, marry said partner, buy a house, have kids.
While that sounds fine, it appears the generations to follow have realised that there is no one way to tackle life. Everyone is on their own timeline, which makes life that much more enjoyable.
With the full setup of a standard house, Tiny Homes are compact and are designed to fit everything with as minimal space as possible.
Lifehacker spoke to Yvonne to ask about life in the day of a Tiny Home, what made her take the leap and follow her dreams, and how the adventure’s currently going.
We wanna know! Tell us what dream you’d live out with a tasty $20,000 and we might just make it happen. That’s right – a cool $20K, straight into your bank account. What a financial glow up. What a money makeover. IMAGINE. It honestly takes my breath away.
Even if you didn’t win a wallet-busting sum of money, just think about how much a moderate sum could enhance your life. Enough to make a good dent in the mortgage or finally get you out of renting. Sign me up.
Then there are those who want to ~ finally ~ start that small business they’ve been cooking up after hours daydreaming. These guys are using the money to fund a whole new future and I admire the heck out of them.
And hell, what about the folks who’d love to just enhance their lives with a bit of extra cashola? Can’t argue with that!
Winning the lotto has gotta be up there with one of the most common daydreams people have on a daily basis. Whether you’d splurge on something big, ration it out for the future or make some wise investments, it’d be a helluva treat.
Like, for real what would you do with that cash? Would you squirrel it away for a rainy day? Chuck a deposit on your own place? Fund that side hustle you’ve been dreaming of? Travel more with your mates? Because whatever it is you dream of doing might actually become reality if you enter this comp.
If you’ve ever had a stroke of genius that you decided wasn’t worth acting on, let Gabriel Waller‘s story be the push you need to reconsider.
The personal shopper only launched her business back in 2018, yet she quickly became the go-to person for A-listers and high-profile public figures alike, sourcing clothing and accessories direct from the runway, or entirely sold-out to the general public.
“I regularly think back to those early days and remember the excitement of taking those small leaps of faith,” Waller explains. “Being able to move into my first coworking office space – back then, that was a huge jump for me, from a financial perspective, but I did it and it paid off. Every decision I made was carefully thought out.”
That’s not to say it was an easy decision to leave her full-time job to focus on her ultimate dream, yet it very rarely is.
“I was still working full-time when I started the business,” Waller continues. “Those initial three months I was juggling both my full-time work and the launch of the business. A few months in, I saw the potential that this had, and knew that I needed to dedicate 100% of my time towards it — it was nerve-wracking.”
Waller managed to find a gap in the Australian market that gave her the confidence she needed to back herself entirely.
“I’ve always had a strong desire to think outside of the box, and to step away from what everybody else was doing,” she explains. “I knew that I wanted to create a unique concept, an idea that nobody in Australia was yet doing.
“Luxury personal shopping and product-sourcing, at the time, was prominent in the US, and I discovered quite quickly that it was an untapped market here in Australia.”
After six months worth of research and forming relationships within the industry, Waller launched her product-sourcing business with a small pool of local clients in tow.
“I wasn’t well-known, but I had a vision and I was set from day one to prove myself and my services to my clients… I’m so grateful that they believed in me and trusted in me, as I wouldn’t have been able to get this off the ground without them.”
Astoundingly, Waller claims to have refrained from using any PR or marketing, instead relying solely on her reputation.
“That shows the power of word-of-mouth, and how essential it is to always go above and beyond for every single client,” she says.
“The number one career highlight to date would be Rosie Huntington-Whiteley reposting the Céline coat that I located for her…Suddenly, after one single Instagram post, the business became global.”
If you’re thinking that this was just a luck-of-the-draw situation, think again. As Waller mentioned, every decision she makes is carefully considered, and so much happens behind the scenes to get into a position that Waller’s in now. It wasn’t a coincidence that she managed to source a highly sought-after piece of clothing for Huntington-Whitely to wear.
“In order to have access to pieces that are deemed sold-out, I need to have eyes and ears globally,” she says. “The relationships that I have developed over time allow me to gain access to pieces that are sold-out, are in high demand, or better yet, early access to obtain pieces prior to them officially hitting the boutique floor.”
After the lifechanging Instagram post, Waller had to hit the ground running to keep up with the demand. It sounds like a dream come true, yet Waller admits, as grateful as she was, it was an immense effort to manage the sudden influx of clients.
“An immediate challenge following that success was being able to keep up with the overnight demand that I received,” she recalls. “Thousands and thousands of new clients were approaching me and I had to act smart and fast to manage it appropriately.
“At the time, it was only me and my assistant Amaury, who is based in Paris. It was one of the most exciting and toughest seasons of the business to date.”
Waller’s line of work allows for her to travel and relocate as she sees fit, which is reassuring to those who fear starting a business — or a career, for that matter — means they’ll be stuck in the same place for years.
“I never wanted to be tied down or held back to one certain city. I can be based anywhere, any time and the business will run as usual — that provides me with quite a lot of flexibility and freedom when it comes to long-term goals.”
So, should you have your own dream in the pipeline but you’re hesitant to invest your time and resources into it, it might be time to bite the bullet and find out.
“Mix passion, self-confidence, ambition, and most importantly, action (taking daily action steps to put your idea into practice), you will become unstoppable – my story is living proof of that.”
MR & MRS HILL
C&GH: New York of course but also Dubai. The Dubai Mall has amazing commercial displays and also homes come to life with millions of Christmas lights. Pitt Street Mall in Sydney also has an amazing Christmas lighting display.
PS: Where in the world would you say you've seen the best Christmas light set-up?
C&GH: We are definitely embracing the hype of residential Christmas installations. We are growing our install team and looking forward to creating some lighting magic in the next five years. We have been designing and manufacturing our own lights to allow for custom design installs and head turning lighting experiences.
PS: What's in the works for Mr & Mrs Hill for the next five-or-so years?
C&GH: Well, I'm a bit of a big dreamer and I told Geoff that we would do an epic lighting install for the Kardashians famous Christmas Eve party one year. I'm still working on that one.
PS: Who is your dream Christmas light-related client?
C&GH: Mostly, we love to make people feel hope, inspiration and happiness. We truly believe our lights and beautiful installations make people feel happy and bring so much togetherness and a sense of joy. We also get to meet so many people and travel as a family.
PS: What do you love the most about this line of work?
C&GH: We like to get to know the clients style and vision. Once we have a brief description of the clients' goals, we propose a visual concept. Some questions that we ask include colour preferences and themes, and then there's the installation logistics. A lot of people don't realise the importance of structure requirements, anchorage and electrical requirements. A lot of our clients own multi-million dollar homes and installing lights can require structural anchorage and electrical work. So it's very important to factor these installation requirements in from the beginning.
PS: When discussing each Christmas light set-up with clients, what do you usually ask them before beginning the designs?
C&GH: There's a reaction that was truly beautiful this year; an elderly lady who lives down the street from us lives alone and dreamt of having some beautiful lights up for Christmas. We went down and decorated her home with many colourful Christmas lights. When she came outside, she was truly overwhelmed and so happy with tears. She's been standing out on the street every night to just watch the beautiful lights.
PS: What is your favourite client reaction to date?
C&GH: For residential, definitely the Hazzouri Family Christmas Install 2020. This installation took two days and included thousands of warm white LED fairy lights, statues and curtain lights. This install reminded us of palace style homes draped in gold lights in Dubai — timeless and elegant. We have also just completed an installation for Glen Innes Council that took four days to install and days of welding and building a giant eight-metre metal and gold light Christmas tree. The Main Street features giant curtain lights along the centre of the street and the Christmas tree sits in the centre roundabout.
PS: What's the largest Christmas light set-up you've been involved in?
C&GH: In 2019, We contacted Roxy Jacenko to see if we could provide lighting for any corporate Christmas parties held by her group of companies and clients. We shared some of our work and not long after, Roxy booked us in to take care of Christmas lighting for her home. This was the beginning of our Christmas lighting services. We received an overwhelming amount of inquiries and were quickly booked out for Christmas lighting installs 12 months ahead of 2020. We realised that we found a gap in the market so we ran with it.
PS: When did you decide to expand into Christmas lights?
Cassandra & Geoff Hill: No not at all, a lighting business had never crossed our mind. We were completely blown away by the lighting experiences throughout Dubai. We knew there was something special about fairy lights and the moving moments they create and the way they make people feel happy but we didn't see the business opportunity until after our wedding when we received many messages requesting to hire our lights for events.
POPSUGAR Australia: Before your trip to Dubai, had either of you considered getting into the lighting business, or was it entirely by chance?
If you've seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, you'll know very well that setting up your own Christmas lights can be a fiasco.
There's nothing more frustrating than having your dream set-up in your head, with the lack of skill to execute it perfectly. Everyone deserves to have their Christmas wishes fulfilled (that might sound cheesy but the festive season is arguably the best time of the year), and sometimes all it takes is a little external help.
Cassandra and Geoff Hill, the power-couple behind light installation company Mr & Mrs Hill, recently expanded their business to cater for the Christmas period, adding to their existing services of weddings and commercial events.
After a trip to Dubai, where the Hills tied the knot surrounded by thousands of golden fairy lights, the couple shifted their entire focus towards helping other people have the same — if not better — experience that they had in Dubai, and so, in 2019, Mr & Mrs Hill was born.
We spoke to the Hills about everything Christmas lights-related, how it all began and why they do what they do.
DAVID JAMES YOUNG
Alright, you heard the man. Start begging for tickets to gigs and festivals for Christmas, hunt for dollar-dollar bills in your old jeans, grab a Set For Life ticket and cross all fingers and toes – just get creative, team. After ~this~ all blows over, there will be many-a gig awaiting your presence and the time starts now to get our butt to ’em.
In the words of the famous alt-rock-metal band from the ’90s – Spice Up Your Life.
P.TV: How many festivals do you think you’ve attended in total over how many years?
David James Young: My first festival was one called FeelGood, which was this blues & roots festival that ran out of Luna Park. My sister and I won tickets. Xavier Rudd and Ash Grunwald played, as well as The Audreys and Jen Cloher, both of whom I met that day and couldn’t contain my excitement. Funnily enough, Jen has gone on to become a friend of mine and I always remind her of the annoying punisher yapping in her ear while we watched Mia Dyson play.
Across 15 years I’ve probably been to between 40 to 50 festivals – every Big Day Out from 2008 to 2014, every Soundwave from 2008 to 2015 except one, a couple of Groovin the Moos, two Splendours, Download, a stack of Laneways (including two in Brisbane), Yours & Owls every year from 2015 onwards, three Farmer & The Owl festivals, three Fairgrounds, about four Homebakes, Come Together and probably a couple more that I’m forgetting.
P.TV: How do you save money for each festival?
DJY: I’ve been pretty lucky – Big Day Out and Soundwave were almost always Christmas presents, and when we outgrew that I was lucky enough to get to cover festivals for the places I was writing for at the time. So in reality, I’ve only really had to fork out a relative handful of times for festivals. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go to as many otherwise – I don’t know if you know much about music journalism, but we’re all out here basically making hundreds of dollars a year.
P.TV: What’s the best gig you’ve seen?
DJY: Prince at the State Theatre in February 2016. It was about two months before he passed – but even before we knew what we know now, I still walked out of that show knowing it was the best show I’ve ever seen.
P.TV: What’s the wildest (legal) moment you’ve experienced at a festival?
DJY: At Fairgrounds in 2018, I had the honour and privilege of meeting two of my musical heroes – Billy Bragg and Kim Deal. They could not have been kinder or nicer to me, and it was a complete thrill to know that these people I’ve looked up to were also really thoughtful and sweet people in real life. I had the same joy the next year at the same festival, where I got to meet Evan Dando and Kasey Chambers.
P.TV: What were your top 5 places to hit up?
DJY: In terms of festival grounds, I really love places like The Domain in Sydney, Stuart Park in Wollongong, the Riverstage in Brisbane, the Showgrounds in Berry and the University of Canberra. Wide-open spaces, lots of green, clear blue skies. Bliss.
P.TV: What do you recommend to people who haven’t been to a festival yet?
DJY: It sucks you’re gonna have to wait a while, but this gives you time to be prepared. Wear bike tights over your underwear, as you’re going to be walking around a lot and it will get very sweaty. Wear earplugs when you’re watching bands. Constantly keep yourself sunscreened up. Drink plenty of water. Keep in contact with your friends, but don’t be susceptible to “dragging” friends to shit they don’t want to see. You can literally go do or see anything you want. Take advantage of that.
P.TV: Do you have any standout stories of meeting new people?
DJY: Apart from meeting Jen Cloher at my first festival and the aforementioned meetings with some musical heroes, I made some great friends at the unofficial Yours & Owls after-party last year that took place in catering in the centre of the backstage area. I talked shit about Rob Zombie with the guys from Fucked Up, I chewed Conor from Bugs’ ear off about the Dirty Three and I rapped all of “Spread” by Outkast to Toby from Skegss.
I feel like it’s a legal requirement in Australia to have at least one person in your friendship group who always seems to be perching on someone’s shoulders at a music festival any given weekend.
Now, take that mate and times it by 10 – we found a lad who has hit up so many music festivals, your brain will malfunction trying to do the calculations on how it’s possible.
We’d all bloody love to be amongst it with our collarbones vibrating from banger-after-banger every week, although that doesn’t seem wildly realistic. But, what if we’re just holding ourselves back?
It certainly hasn’t held David James Young back – as of 2017, the lad had been to over 200 gigs (not including festivals). That was three years ago, keep in mind. The number has undoubtedly ballooned since then.
Come with me for a look into David’s hectic gig count, how he managed to do it and all of the chaotic rides along the way.
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