Rock festival with real rocks and real rock music
JOHN Steenbergen has rocks in his blood and says he must have had them in his head in his days as a small crops farmer at Chatsworth.
The man whose family name literally is Dutch for "stony hill” is currently making final preparations for his big gig of the year, this weekend's Kybong Rock Fest.
The Gympie region gem stone guru says he is proud to run what may be the only rock festival in the world with real rocks, as well as real rock music.
Harking back to his farming career, he says a stony hill, just as his family name and bloodline hint, was what got him into all this.
"And thank goodness for that,” he might add.
"The kids would wander up the hill nearby and come home with green rocks,” he said.
The rocks, Gympieite, are unique to the area around and north of Chatsworth.
"We piled the rocks in the shed and people would come out and buy some.
"Then there was a Scout Jamboree nearby and we took the rocks and had people bidding for them.
"I said to the wife, 'We're going into rocks; it's better than vegetables.”
Gympieite turned out on analysis to be a type of chert, a flinty rock which in this case can be green, blue or grey.
A very hard sedimentary rock, noted for being able to take a fine finish, the rock is a Gympie Gem Club exclusive, originally available only from Mr Steenbergen and his neighbours.
And if having our very own gemstone is not cause for a celebration, what is?
The festival starts Friday at 9.30am, but the big days are Saturday and Sunday.
MC, Rockin' Roger will keep the rock music rolling at the Steenbergens' Kybong headquarters (in Lobwein Rd, next to Gympie airport) from 9.30am Saturday and 9am Sunday, with help from a folk rock band and others, like the Gold Dust Rockers.
Mr Steenbergen says gemstones saved him for a healthy but impoverished lifestyle he describes as "all hard work and no money.”