Raquel Stevens

Boots, bling, and Beyonce’s new smash hit song, “Texas Hold ‘Em”, will all be getting a workout at this year’s ChillOut Festival.

Committee member, Tom Shaw, says tickets are selling fast and there’s excitement around a new addition to the Carnival Calendar.

ChillOut is one of the favourite events on the Daylesford Calendar. How is the festival shaping up?

This year the Chillout Festival is going into its 27th year and the whole festival is being brought to you by our committee, so solely organised by volunteers. We’ve  just managed to secure the Rogue Traders, with Nat Bass, to come to our carnival on the Sunday which is very exciting.

This year you’ve decided not to go with a festival director, what was the reason behind that?

We’ve got seven fully committed members in our team, all bringing various talents on board. We made the decision going into this year’s festival that we had the skills to pull it off. It’s all coming together, it’s really well organised and we’ve got some fantastic names and ticket sales are going strong. We’re getting set for a pretty big weekend.

What do you personally love about it?

I’ve been attending ChillOut for many years. I particularly enjoy the parade, I’ve been a part of the parade for a very long time with my Clydesdale Maverick, who just recently passed, but he did it for many years.

Everyone’s really happy, free and laughing and having fun. It brings a good vibe into the area.

There are some fabulous events on the calendar, the pool party is already a sell-out.  Do the locals have a favourite?

I’m not sure how many people get in the pool but it sells out every year. There are so many events this year, I think about 54 events running over the weekend. Carnival Day is always a hoot. For me, Poof Toof on the Sunday night is always a really great event.  Lots and lots of locals are coming. Usually that marks the end of our festival, so we can sort of let our hair down.

Anything new this year?

There’s something for everyone from horse riding to yoga. New this year is our Guru Dudu silent walking disco tours of Daylesford. They’ll be doing walking tours from our hub. They’re coming to Carnival as well, and doing some flash mob dancing. I think it’s going to look a bit silly, but I reckon everyone who’s going to do it is going to have a great time.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’ve lived here all my life. I actually grew up on a potato farm.

Do you have a secret spot in Daylesford?

I’m a horse rider so I love trail riding in the Wombat State Forest. There’s the railway track out near Rocklyn. It’s a pretty amazing spot.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I think mind reading. It would come in handy with my job. I’m in real estate.  Also, it would be amazing with animals as well, to know what they are thinking and if they are in pain or not.

If you were sent to Wombat State Forest for the rest of your eternal life, what three items would you take?

I’d like either my dog or a horse. Obviously, the ChillOut program for some light reading. And coffee, I think coffee is my third.

What’s on your fridge right now?

Hanging on my fridge right now is probably some magnets from travelling overseas, and some VIP passes and Carnival Day tickets.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

I think travel as much as you can at every opportunity. Also, stay positive and then you will have a pretty fun life.

Do you have a favourite travel destination?

I love Italy, love the food, culture, people, beaches. Everything about it.

What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?

Live in the moment, take things as they come and don’t worry too much about the future.

What are you streaming right now?

Will & Grace, always Will & Grace, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

I have never…..

Never jumped out of a plane.

If you were a hashtag?

#Shawthing.  My surname’s Shaw, so I think that works quite well.

The theme this year is Boots & Bling. Who are you channelling for inspiration?

Beyonce and her new song ‘Texas Hold ‘Em.’

How good is that song?

She’s rocking the boots and bling in that one. I think, my anthem for ChillOut this year is “Texas Hold’ Em” and Beyonce wearing those beautiful blingy necklace and big country boots. I’m hoping that comes out at our Bush Dance, which is on the Saturday night, so we can all have a bit of a boogie to it.

I think most of the world is bopping to the Beyonce song at the moment. Have a fabulous ChillOut and we look forward to seeing some happy snaps in the Wombat Post.

The full ChillOut program is available on the ChillOut website.

Listen to Raquel’s interview with Tom Shaw on the Hepburn Radio SoundCloud podcast. There’s more on the podcast!


Raquel Stevens is a former Network Ten News Journalist. She has been a part time local for more than 25 years, and one day hopes to be a full time local.