The Rainbow Chai Tent

For stories and photos of events and venues that The Chai Tent has gone to, is currently at, or is planing to go to in the future

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to Basics

This month at The Channon Craft Market we stepped back in time a bit, to a smaller set up, due to the Draw-bar on the Chai Trailer, being cracked round the welded on plates, we had done in an emergency out in Moree, early one morning, on our way out to the Yaama Festival at Bourke, back in 2007.

Luckily Geradus, Liffy and I were traveling behind Michael, and Geradus spotted the trailer kicking up sparks and dust, as it dragged along the road, about 200 yards ahead of us.

We got Liffy to speed up, and pass him, on a slightly dangerous bend, and we flew past so fast we barely could relay the problem.  Her van even became slightly bogged on the edge of the road, when we all managed to stop and park.

They didn't believe us at first, as the trailer looked perfectly fine, until Geradus pulled down at the back end and showed them how it touched the road. The two metal rectangular hollow drawbars, were cracked thru on 3 sides, only just staying attached along the bottom edge ! We were soooo lucky they hadn't snapped right thru, particularly while we were speeding up immediately behind them, as we were able to strap it up with Tie Down ratchet straps and turn back into Moree, finding a young man, just opening his workshop at 8.30am.  He began straight away, and we were back on the road in no time.

You may say, he didn't do a very good job if they have now cracked again, but this trailer is always packed to the max, often possibly overloaded. It has been the Bane of Michael's life for years. He 'Dreams' of his Custom Built Chai Trailer. It has been fully designed, even drawn up by Finn on a computer program, where you can see it in 3D and thru the walls. It just needs BIG Dollars to Build it.

Anyway, luckily Michael spotted the cracks on the Thursday before market, as he was taking the gas bottles off for re-filling. He was able to organise himself, taking out just the minimum needed, and what he could pack into and on to the twincab ute, borrowing the red hexagon gazebo from the market along with two trestle tables.

Everyone really enjoyed the new set up and it afforded me a prime vantage to document the Chai being made from behind the half-wall constructed out of the old tent walls over a rope, for safety, health and hygiene.
In goes the grated ginger

In goes the cold water

Front counter set up was a little different, as due to space restrictions in the truck, we had disposable cups, instead of  3 boxes or ceramic mugs and Hot Water gas burners. So wejust had Chai and Cakes, no Coffee or Tea. Many jokes this was because Benny wasn't there to wash up and stuff the environment anyway lol 
  The new tent still requires the tape measure, to locate where the pegs go and Finn is making sure the light but very long centre pole is dry, before inserting inside the tent. Michael designed it to actually stay inside the tent, but it always seems to be rolled up instead, Can't remember why it doesn't stay on pole, maybe because it 'd need a bag ?

 Ingrid from Wacky Wax Candles, watched the whole set up this time, in their new location, and told me how amazed she was at the amount of work we do. She thought their set up was big, until she watched, everything that we do.
She was very impressed with the wonderful way Finn and Michael worked together, joking and laughing, more like friends than father and son.

                                                       How's that Chai going ?
Nearly ready for the milk ?

                                                  2nd genaration chai wallah

We decorated the half wall with Benny's flags, as they were looking decidedly stained, after being used down at The Embassy in Canberra this year, ( camped on by the Aunties from Central Australia)

            The open view, gave a wonderful spaciousness being able to see thru, without the trailer

We did think that we might get away earlier than normal, which can be anywhere between 8.30 and 10.30 pm, as it was a smaller set up, and maybe Michael would just take everything home to wash later, like other food stalls can. But 'tho we did leave a 8pm, it was just as much a Jigsaw puzzle for Michael to pack, plus it was a totally new jigsaw, he had to remember how he'd fitted it all in.
So we didn't manage to beat Greg from Coffee Oasis, as we joked about in the morning.

Xavier Rudd Live at Bentley Blockade in The Rainbow Chai Tent at Gate A

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Land of Flooding Rains

This weeks devastating floods have affected so many people.
We hear about some of the loss but some people just accept the loss, and don't make too much of it.

Yesterday as we went about our normal market at Byron Bay serving Chai to the community,
 our dear friend Lewis, calmly replies to Liffy's question, "so how have things been lately ?" ,      with .......

"Oh..... I lost  my house....  and 2 floated off down the creek "

Someone rang him during the devastating flood of water that tore thru the Tabulum area, Lewis asked him "How's my place, can you see my place?"
"No says the friend,  it's just all water!"

Lewis, tells us that normally the creek is 150 metres below a cliff !  His house was torn off it's stumps, and "went turtle-ing down the creek", he jokes.

My mum Liffy, asks him, were you insured , ....what are you going to do... etc

Lewis smiles and says " Aaaaah...  I'll go and live in a cave "
This strong and proud man is  Uncle Lewis Walker
The Keeper of Bunjalung Country.

He is the last man to walk through the old song lines and story lines and corrobaree grounds and still doing it today.

He is a warrior who believes in the oneness of All Universal Spirit. He is teacher to those who are willing to learn about the pearly fruits that will heal those who thirst for healing upon the Sacred Land that we walk upon.

He recognizes and lives the truth that we all come from the spiritual enlightenment.

He is a wise storyteller, a cultural reclamation leader, a unifying force between separated peoples, a healer, lover of all beings.

Uncle Lewis teaches us to feel and think with our hearts about the inner sacredness contained within everything.

Uncle Lewis believes that the children and the elders are to be treasured, respected, learned from and taught to be what they really are shining like the morning star.
The First Light People!
He leads groups of people on walkabouts to discover the true wealth of this world, that which is given by the Creator.
If you are interested in having this kind of experience, please feel free to contact Sky at

Lewis is an acclaimed artist, with large paintings selling for upwards of $5,000
Some of his Bunjalung Dreaming Drawings can be viewed here

Lewis spoke 13 languages by the age of 14, when he came out to the white world, and learnt to speak english.

We had a brief first meeting at the market yesterday, to begin organising, the recommencement of the annual dancing of the Rainbow Corroborree.

This corroborree, was meant to be Danced every year, it hasn't happened for many years.
Lewis first heard about it 30 years ago, and is determind for it to be Revived.

A small team will begin to organise 3 events in 2011, in preparation for a large Rainbow Corroborree in Central Australia in 2012
Julinbah Yowarl

Lewis's house was near Tabulam, which  is a rural village in the far north east of New South Wales, Australia, 800km from the state capital, Sydney. Tabulam is located on the Bruxner Highway (Highway 44) between Tenterfield and Casino and on the Clarence River.
Tabulam is a picturesque village and its position on the northern catchment of Australia's most voluminous river affords it geographical and environmental significance. According to the 2006 Census, there were 573 people living in Tabulam. Tabulam is locally administered by Kyogle Council.


The name Tabulam is derived from Bundjalung Dahbalam..


Originally, Tabulam and the surrounding farm and bushland was inhabited by Bundjalung Aboriginals. The land was first settled by Europeans in 1839.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Chai Tent at Lismore's Sonic Festival

Well after a very wet weekend down in Sydney, we arrived back up north on Wednesday evening, had one days rest, and set off on Friday, to set up at Lismore's first 'Sonic' Music  Festival.
We were offered two locations 'out the back', and 'round the corner', these spots were not suitable, so we looked at the site, and decided the most suitable spot would be opposite the Market Stage. 
We thought this location would best serve the punters by having a comfy place to watch this stage from, out of the sun or rain.
After some length of time waiting for the main organiser to ring in, we were told we were not allowed to set up in the ideal location, as it was going to be used for a 'crew base'. (Although a double Market Stall marquee did later go up, on the edge, it was not used, as they used the permanent structure beside it ).

The said area, is seen as the higher, un-flooded grass, in the top right of this picture below, just to the right of the orange ute.
It would have been a perfect place for The Chai Tent,both for the punters and us, and we would have stayed dry !

The rain started just after we hopped into bed, I jumped up to retrieve one carpet left outside earlier, as it had been made damp by the still sodden centre carpet, that hadn't been dried, down in Sydney, as it was under the centre pole, and we'd kept the tent up for the return of the Film Crew, ( a rumour...they wanted to film some music in the tent, which they had missed over the weekend.....they never showed up ).
The night security, saw me appear from the tent, and came over saying 'No One is supposed to be sleeping onsite !!', I said " We always do ! and I'd told him to be quiet, when he'd "Oi'd" me quite loudly ! At my reply, he merely shrugged his shoulders and left us alone.

The rain kept going all night and looked very set in, in the morning, very like a repeat of Buundi Beach !! except it was warmer rain. That is until about 11'ish, when the Southerly swung in, and with rumours of Gale Force Winds and Cyclones due to hit Sydney and travel north, we really thought it was there to stay all weekend.

We had puddles on the carpet, as not one but two little streams of water ran thru the tent, meeting at a junction, on the lower side.

We had to lift all the cushions, and the knitted 'crew',as the puddles enlarged, and the whole floor rapidly became saturated.

 Michael, goes over to confer with the Pyro-Technic Crew, who were still 'setting up ', despite the deluge

 Benny mops the puddles in the grass, much like he mopped the grass of Buundi Beach the weekend before.

 And we are hoping that this weekend, a music festival might bring in some much needed revenue, to help defray the costs of our expensive journey to Buundi. Hahaha! Think again Chai Wallahs, you must mop and dry, mop and dry, and then we'll see !

Having just decided that 'Yes' all agreed, we should 'pack-up' and write it off as a bad joke, we decided to not begin pack up, til the rain stopped a bit.( Nothing worse than packing in the rain!)
With that decision, and a return phone call re an update from the B.O.M. weather site, that the weather ,would clear, the rain stopped !!......the wind blew........the clouds cleared nearly instantly !........ and the sun began........ to shine....!!!
So we put the carpets out to dry in our Roseless Rose Garden  and laid out some water-proof Ground sheets that wouldn't allow the streams to seep thru,and laid out the dry carpets, and kept mopping up the puddles of water upstream.

The sun set with an awesome cloud, that took the last of the rain around us, and away



And so .....we got ready and waited, and waited .... for the punters to arrive.......and for the punters......... to come in for a chai .........   or some Coconut Fish Soup .......or Pumpkin Vegie Soup.......or Cake.......or just a comfy cushion....

And despite being in the wrong place for the watershed earlier in the day, we were in the right spot for the wonderful Illumination from the Floodlights, yet again !!


And we had a wonderful location to watch the Fire Show!


These two  11 year old twins from Nimbin are stunning performers, at such a young age, along with their 15 year old sister.


The clear sky later that night, foretold of a clear and sunny day to follow, but we learnt via the Sound Team, un-plugging from the 3 phase power board beside us, that they and the Security Team were both pulling out due to not being paid.....and the Police who stayed on duty til 1.25 am, said it would have to be cancelled, if there was no security....... 
The organiser, appeared to confirm this without really telling us anything, when he came and took down his 'Sonic' banners on a neighbouring booth, that had been designated for the 'Doof Angels'
So we went to bed assuming it was all called off.

In the morning, as the first stall holder cars arrived to set up for the day, we realised that we had been locked in all night, and they were locked out, til the organiser arrived an hour later !

We had already begun to pack up ....Benny has the tube lighting around his arm here, all his flags were down and Ots had just taken down the Blue Shade Awning, pegs and all.
I took one of the Chocolate cakes made for Sydney, to give to a fellow marketeer Willow, celebrating her birthday.........just as well I went down when I did, I just happened upon, a large circle of people, just breaking up from an impromtu meeting, that had just found out from organiser that, as the bands had all been paid in advance, the festival was still on.......( he even asked them all to contribute a further $100 each to help pay for new security and sound??)

I headed back up to The Chai Tent, to halt our packing up.....and so for the second time that weekend. we turned around and re-set up,  putting on fresh pots of Chai.  

Then we finally had time for a late brekky of Pumpkin Soup from last nights dinner ....


And we were open for business once again.....

or ....... ready and waiting .....


If we had been able to put The Chai Tent in the more appropriate location,these people sitting on the grass, would have been sitting and lounging  on cushions and carpets, as they watched the performers on the market stage.

 And we wouldn't have had two creeks running thru the tent.

If there had been more advance advertising,the event may have had more patrons, and we may have actually covered our stall fee, costs, and made an income.
Oh well......let's hope the weather is kind to us for the next market at The Channon (13th June), and that people do make it to the market, and that some of you kind and generous Friends of The Chai Tent, donate, to our Fundraising try and defray the recent costs of the Tent's journey to Buundi Beach for the Parliament of Sovereign Nations.........

Friends of The Chai Tent

To recompense Michaels already stretched Bankcard, we are setting up The Chai Tent Donation Account ..........
Commonwealth Bank
BSB. 062 580
ACC. 102 784 85... See More

Donators should add their name and say it is for FOST
Federation of Original Sovereign Tribes

Our Target is $5,500.00

Please spread this word, outward ....
and the link to FOTCT page (Friends of The Chai Tent),
to everyone you know, THAT feels strongly about this issue.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Chai Tent Goes to Bondi Beach

The Chai Tent recently, went on an impromptu journey south to Sydney.
Mark McMurtrie rang Michael, asking "What are you doing next weekend?" and so, with no further ado we set off on Thursday 20th at 4.30am following Michaels birthday, when he woke himself at 3am to cook 16 cakes by 9am and spent the day packing the trailer and truck.

We were off to set up The Chai Tent along with 2 large marquees to create a venue for an Historic event...... Daragule Tribal Council......inviting Elders from around the Continent, to attend a the Re-Convening of the  Federation of  Original Sovereign Tribes.
A Parle-ment (Speaking of the Mind), Ceremony, to bring the Nations together as one. To recognize the Sovereignty of all Originees.

After a long and round-about trip, picking up the two marquees from under the mountains behind Cessnock, we drove a 3 vehicle convoy  right thru the middle of Sydney at 11.30pm, to our then destination, La Perouse.
Not knowing exactly where we were to set up we waited opposite 3 security guards and multiple rabbits munching the grass short.
Only to learn that we were not allowed to set up there, due to the wishes of a 27 year old from Kempsey ?? off to find a motel near the Airport, (knowledge of nearest location, courtesy from the security guards).
First one full ! sets our 3 vehicle convoy again, to locate second possibility, courtesy Ron Gardiner's GPS.
2pm and we had hysterics trying to log in to motel via a touch screen at the locked door, and needing to find out if they had wheelchair access for Ron.

The next morning, after a lovely scenic tour around LaPerouse and the private Golf Course,we learn from Mark, about the debacle surrounding La Perouse and are directed to come down to Bondi Beach ( Buundi , pronounced Buwundi) !

Aaaaah , we think " An Excellent location for The Chai Tent ! ( We'll  be able to sell  Chai and Cake to the tourists, and maybe make some money to cover the costs of the trip !)
HahaThink again......although when we arrived at Buundi, the weather was looking clearish and sunny,

the moment we began to set up the first marquee,

the wind decided to begin to show it's power, into what would develop into Gale Force Winds with Torrential Rains,which began pouring later that night.
We virtually had the whole beach to ourselves, excepting the surfers,  the Bondi Beach Keep Fit Club, and the Iceberg Swimmers Club, all weekend.

At least by the time the rains did start, we had managed to set up the Chai Kitchen beneath the Blue and White striped Marquee

It was an awesome place to be...... and the weather, despite making it a tad harder for us ...... did tend to bring all those attending, that much closer together.

After a morning of heavy rain,the skies began to dry up, as the People arrived from the Dawn Ceremony at Barramattagal,

The fire was kindled at the Dawn Ceremony  of The Spirits, held out at Barramattagal  (Parramatta), an Historic site where the British  orders were given for the capture and beheading of  Pemulwuy ,an un-relenting warrior hero.
See here for a short video of the weekend

The skies began clearing, and by the end of the first umbrella-'d circle, we had joined our combined Energies, and made a Hole in the Clouds for the sun to get thru, 

The afternoon was blessed with a fine day for the Dancers to Dance on the grassy hill of Buundi

I didn't manage to get any photos of The Men and Boys Dance, as I was then caught up again in the kitchen marquee. You can see some stunning photos of them  here at Mathew Flower's FaceBook page photos of the event.