From the very beginning of the ChillOut festival, finding a way to give back to the local community was a top priority. Foundation ChillOut committee member Margaret remembers that the organisers ‘were always mindful of who we were and what we were and that we did not want to alienate the community. So it was topmost on the agenda that we gave back and we did so publicly’.
Despite the activity of Springs Connections and the increasing number of active gay men and lesbian women in the Daylesford community in the late 1990s, there was still a fair amount of homophobia within the community. Ally Paul remembers that homophobia was ‘fairly rife in Daylesford at that time’.
The rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTI pride, is a common sight in Daylesford today, with shop owners and many locals proudly displaying their support of the LGBTI community. However, this was not always the case.
From the very beginning, it was important to the organisers of ChillOut that the festival embrace and showcase its country origins. ‘We were country’, inaugural ChillOut chair Leanne Spain comments, ‘we wanted to identify ourselves with a country event’.