Words by Jeff.
How time flies. Finally, I’m getting around to writing a report on the fabulous ChillOut 2020 late March so here it is.
ChillOut 2020 was bigger and better as it continues to grow each year. Motafrenz’ involvement also increases each year and this year was no exception.
For the parade, Motafrenz for the first time took the honour of taking LGBTI elders from Hepburn House, a retirement village and nursing home for our LGBTI elders and took them in the parade. This involved considerable coordination with Hepburn House as the elders had to be carefully managed into member’s cars and returned safely. The elders loved it and so did the crowd.
Motafrenz was also placed right up the front of the parade this year after the motor bikes and the Mardi Gras 78ers. Of course, we had the usual request from the ChillOut organisers to help out with the ambassadors and dignitaries in convertibles, and we never have enough convertibles. James in his red convertible Toyota Celica always pulls off a spectacular display with Jessica and entourage and did again this year. Doug in Candy, his sweet red Mercedes convertible did the honour of carrying Katherine Wolfgramme and Georgie Stone (Youth Trans Activist and Headspace Ambassador).
In the Jaguar XJS convertible that I was kindly lent by a good friend, I had the honour of carrying Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, and along with Cabinet Secretary Ms Mary-Anne Thomas MLA and local member. Mary-Anne could not walk as she had broken her foot a week earlier. Fortunately, these two people were both members of the same political party, and if they were not waving to people they knew, they were talking about policy direction on equality and inclusion.
Bruce, a ring in with a modern convertible silver Volvo, carried the ChillOut ambassadors; comedian Bob Downe and the amazing Art Simone drag performer extraordinaire. The ambassadors were very busy indeed having just done Mardi Gras a week earlier, and then had to open Moomba the next morning. When I told Bruce that we will be starting off straight after the Mardi Gras 78ers, he told me he was there in Oxford Street Sydney and witnessed the violence in 1978 that became Mardi Gras as we know it. It was the first time the 78ers have taken part at ChillOut, Australia’s largest LGBTIQA+ event.
After that lot, it was the main contingent of Motafrenz members with the LGBTI elders from Hepburn House. This was an amazing experience for all involved. The smiles were gorgeous, and the importance of this experience can never be understated. Motafrenz is already looking to help out again with the elders next year. We ask for as many of the members as possible to be involved next year and you will enjoy it immensely. Well done to all those that helped out with sensible cars for the LGBTI elders.
After the returning of the elders to Hepburn House, it was off to the carnival for the Motafrenz display and stall. We seemed to have secured a great regular spot which works for us well, but as usual it was the usual entry and exit dramas. This is always a challenge as it has to be worked around public assembly safety first and foremost. As the event organiser, my only request is that we must have a foot patrol marshal when vehicles are moving amongst the public, as safety in this situation is absolutely paramount. However how this is executed can test the very best of us but with patients, they look after us and we look after everyone.
Motafrenz members had an amazing selection of cars on display. It was a fantastic day relaxing and chatting about life, cars and whatever else took anyone’s fancy. As you will see from the photographs, it was an impressive display. The range of vehicles covered, 2 and 4 stroke, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 cylinder cars. No 1 or 5 cylinders, or rotary engines this year but who knows next year. There certainly was an impressive selection of cars on display and Motafrenz, as usual, was an important participating part of ChillOut 2020.
Then there was the after-carnival Motafrenz club barbecue at the Motafrenz club-house. This was very well attended with members and their friends and another fabulous time to get together. Well done to those that organised the club-house, the elders for the parade, the club-house barbecue, and I hope everyone enjoyed the parade and carnival. I know I certainly did and given our current global predicament, let us hope that next year will be bigger, better and thoroughly deserved, should things get back to normal or near normal by then.
In contrast to ChillOut, I gave a lift home to a friend who had just tested negative to COVID-19 from hospital. Driving to and from Franskton to Holmesglen, I had a clear run with no red lights and saw only a handful of other cars in total on the road. So very like a spooky scene from a Steven King thriller with mostly me alone on the road and every overhead information sign stating ominously “YOU MUST GO HOME”, and home I went. I will never forget that drive in my life.
As a result, all I can say is that we were so very lucky to have enjoyed a wonderful and fabulous ChillOut 2020 before all our fun came to a grinding halt for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope restrictions will be lifted sooner rather than later, as we will all need some suitable club drives to recover from our social isolation.
Words by Joseph S.
I have attended many Chillout festivals, but this will be a memorable one.
The starting point was that I did not go up on Friday as I always have. I was informed on Tuesday afternoon that my fully paid accommodation was cancelled!
In short, would never recommend Daylesford Escapes.
A scramble around for other options proved unfruitful. So, at the eleventh hour and with tickets pre-purchased, I was up shit creek without a paddle. Luckily the generous and ever kind household members agreed to let my friend Pete and I to couch surf (not promoting this as an option for next year!).
I first attended Chillout 11 years ago; and it was my introduction to Motafrenz! In short, I had such a positive social experience in the house that I joined. It was rather special that the on the Sunday I got to see 5 of those people in the same context as I met them all those years ago.
What made this year most memorable (sleeping on the floor comes close) was the Parade. It was the first time I have been in the Parade. To date I have usually passed on this, no one wants to see a Mazda 3! I had a special reason to participate this year – call it community service!
Hepburn House reached out and asked for a collaboration with Motafrenz. I was fortunate to have the cheery Bev and Val in my car. It was the first- and only-time people will be cheering for my car. The residents were such a hit, we did two circuits instead of one that was planned.
It should also be noted that the parade was busy, in fact the busiest I have ever seen it. I remember some years, when it was lucky Motafrenz were there to space out the gaps and make the circuit completely full.
After we headed to the Victoria Park Showgrounds for the annual carnival. It was not as busy as the parade but had a solid crowd. Motafrenz had its usual display, which generates a lot of interest from non rev heads. The wide variety of cars present turned heads, and we also had some non-members show their cars also.
Sunday night has a traditional BBQ at the Motafrenz house. Motafrenz and friends of Motafrenz were invited to join the gathering. The chips, dips, snacks and drinks started in the afternoon and went late into the night. Luckily the house is rather large and ideal for entertaining.
There were about 25 people for dinner. It is really nice to share a casual meal with a lot of chatter and even some contentious debate. Want to know the hot topics? You will have to join the Motafrenz house next year to find out!
There has been lots of interest, so much so that the committee seem likely to have two houses next year – details to come soon!
If you are interested in being part of Chillout 2021 – please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep you informed of the club’s preparations.