What better way to celebrate/commiserate the cold weather than Darker Days – a three-day festival of all things dark and decadent – with dark beer, live music, hot food and crackling bonfires.
Rupert is the Operations Manager at Bright Brewery and has been a part of every iteration of Darker Days since its inception. When asked how many Darker Days weekends there have been, Rupert was a bit unsure at first, believing this year’s event to be the third. It wasn’t until he backtracked through the terrible weather which has always been memorable every year that he realised this is “the fourth one, as it went cold, wet, even wetter, Covid, and now this year.” What should we expect this year? “Terrible weather hopefully” – and according to the weather forecast it will be rainy and cold. But Rupert believes that’s what makes the event so great. “The weather kind of creates the atmosphere,” he said. “We don’t have any expectations it’s going to be good weather. It creates an atmosphere like that big muddy festival in the UK… Glastonbury! You’d be disappointed if it wasn’t muddy.”
Following on from the previous years’ the weather the first year was -9 degrees, and then every year after that it’s rained. “It can’t get any worse than the last one (in 2019) where it was just torrential, but it’s always fun”, he said.
Even though the weather is always cold & wet, the festival is full of warmth and excitement. Everyone who attends a festival in Bright in winter, knows that the weather is going to be against them. But that doesn’t stop anyone. Each year, Darker Days has gotten bigger and better. This year, there are plenty of local produce and stall holders to keep you entertained & warm. Expect to find the local whiskey experts from Backwoods Distillery in Yackandandah to Reed & Co Distillery with their highly lauded gins and promises of their cocktail favourites & some extra winter warmers. “It’s a local festival and it reflects all the great produce our region has,” Rupert says as he tries to remember all the stalls they have. No self-respecting winter festival would be complete without a dark brew on tap. This year there will be the infamous Stubborn Russian making a reappearance and a tasting paddle of dark beers, as well as something new. “We reached out to two of our favourite brewers Molly Rose Brewing Co. and Mr Banks Brewing Co. coming up from Melbourne to join in this year. Lots of great beers this year.”
When asked what to expect from the Brewery after Darker Days, Rupert didn’t hold back his laugh, “A rest – for the whole team. We’ve been extremely busy this year. Since November last year, we’ve never had a busier year.” He puts this down to the simple reason that people can’t travel. “Other venues will say the same it’s just been crazy… Usually this time of year is quiet for us, hence us hosting Darker Days – but this year it isn’t the case. Which is great – but we wouldn’t have minded a gradual rise to the craziness.”
One of the big attractions to Darker Days is the music; which, Rupert admittedly doesn’t know much about, instead preferring to leave it up to the event organisers. This y