Yumi Stynes trades 15 years of rock’n’roll reminiscences of The Royal Easter Show for a different kind of experience with eldest daughter, Anouk, aged 13. Yumi and Anouk visited the 2015 Royal Easter Show this past weekend – for Anouk’s first-ever taste of ‘The Show’!
The Royal Easter Show 2015 runs from 26 March to 8 April at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.
For 15 years I used to mark the beginning of each year by heading out to the Sydney Showgrounds for the massive annual rock festival The Big Day Out.
It was part of my music-loving youth and later, part of my work, when I used to cover it for Foxtel’s Channel [V] live TV broadcasts.
Those days were epic: starting early, finishing late, full of amazement, noise and stimuli; a million bands and a million interviews and at the end of each one I’d fall into bed exhausted, finding bruises in strange places, ears ringing and feeling like I’d crammed an entire lifetime into just one day.
Today I went back to the Sydney Showgrounds for a wholly different reason: To take one of my daughters to the Royal Easter Show.
I owed a mother-daughter date to the eldest, who is 13. She has endured last year’s arrival of another brand-new baby sister, many dinners where fish fingers or party pies were all I could muster and worst of all, me making her late for her very first day of high school.
(Getting them to school on time – who would’ve guessed it’d be even harder than pretending to like their awful pop music?)
Anyway, here’s the thing: I value and cherish education, but I let her take the day off school to go to the show.
AND IT WAS GREAT.
I had low expectations because let’s be honest, the Show is tough. It’s tough because there’s lots of walking, there’s lots of weather, there’s lots of people, there’s lots to do.
But we got there early, jumped straight on a ride that was exhilarating but not sick-making (the Giant Slide), then immersed ourselves in what makes these shows really great: The produce and the animals.
This year the Woolworths Fresh Food Hall is divided into sections representing different regions of NSW and QLD. It was really artfully presented and it wasn’t all big supermarket chain stuff – local artisan producers were displaying, selling and explaining their creations.
Like a farmer’s market, but on a spectacular scale.
Looking around I couldn’t help but hear the echoes from previous bands I’d seen in the very same hall as part of the Big Day Out. I wanted to tell my daughter, “I saw M.I.A. play in this room, before she was really famous and she was so great!”
I wanted to point out our broadcast tower where Metallica and PJ Harvey had sat down to be interviewed. I wanted to sing some Fatboy Slim hits so she’d know who I was talking about.
I resisted the urge though, and pushed some nougat samples into my mouth and chatted to one of the owners of Shocal Nuts and Chocolate, who had the country’s biggest Easter egg for sale.
(I asked if I could pick it up. He said I probably wouldn’t be able to lift it. I said, “Ha!” but was content to just point at it.)
The animals were the best bit though.
I grew up in a small country town and as a kid we used to go to a dusty oval where the local Show always seemed to fall in the middle of a terrible drought.
Sheep shearing was no big deal for me and my friends – in fact, some of my friends did it for their summer holiday jobs! But my city-raised daughter was absolutely spellbound at the shearing demonstration at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
We saw a chicken hatching right out of its egg. There were fluffy yellow ducklings in great numbers piling and tumbling upon each other.
There were delightful little goats. And most exciting of all, we were thrilled to see baby piglets, sleeping alongside their GIGANTIC mother.
I have nothing but sympathy for that giant lady pig. She looks so exhausted! I know that look. I have that look many days. I think I had it at the end of our show day.
We capped off our adventure with a few more rides – the Spinning Rollercoaster, which made me fear for my life and I screamed myself hoarse while my kid CACKED herself laughing, and then last stop before home was the showbag hall, where one $5 bag got us enough sugar to equal seventeen birthday parties and the Bertie Beetle bag is still just $2.
(The view from the start of the Spinning Coaster Ride. You can’t hear me screaming from this picture.)
All in all, a day that was WAY more successful than I anticipated. It was epic, cultural, full of stimuli and loud noise. And yes, at the end of the day my ears were ringing and I found bruises in strange places and felt I had crammed a lifetime into just one day.
Yumi’s tips for a great Showday!
- Arrive early
- Try to go on a weekday
- Drink lots of water
- Split up: One adult per kid makes it more manageable
- Be ready to leave when tiredness sets in
- Go easy on the junk food – there are plenty of healthy food options
- Buy showbags LAST so you’re not carrying them around all day