CROktoberfest, Somers Street, North Sunshine.
It is an unexpected musical epiphany, though one that is perhaps at least a little predictable.
As we are enjoying our time – and the sights, sounds and aromas – at CROktoberfest, being held in the ground adjacent to the Melbourne Knights football ground, the music is being provided by a group led by event organiser Dom.
Now, European music is at the very fringes of my musical interests.
But this stuff makes me feel right at home – the lilt and swing is akin to the vintage downhome American music I love so much, and also very much of the Spanish-language music of the US south-west and Mexico, of which I am also a fan.
But what is it with Croatians and volume?
Even with this band and its acoustic instruments, the volume is at a full-tilt, ear-attacking, chest-thumping level – just as the music was at our previous engagement with Croatian music and food.
And all this even before the DJs and rocker get things really cranking later in the night.
Presumably, the geese digging the music from the very front of the stage are used to such things …
But of course, while we have come here to enjoy the party vibe in general, it is the food that is the main drawcard – and especially the bull on the spit.
And there’s do doubt it is a very impressive sight.
As it revolves and roasts, meat is carved from the fragrant beast and passed to crew members who dice it for stuffing into rolls awaited by eager customers.
Like all the food we have, it is dressed simply with shredded lettuce.
But on the evidence of my $10 roll, nothing more is needed.
The plain appearance disguises the quality within – this is as fine beef as I’ve ever had: Juicy, tender, slightly salty, magnificent!
Bennie goes first-up for a similarly priced schnitzel roll, after which we go our separate ways to explore the fun.
The festival area is quite compact, with kids activities off to one side and many more people inside the clubrooms, where there is more music and similar food on offer.
Even here there is music that reverberates with my past – although it, too, is at extreme volume.
There are very many happy people.
There is very much beer being consumed.
So I go with that flow and have one with my second offering of the day – pork cubes in a similar roll for the same price.
The meat here is also tender juicy and flavoursome, but has nowhere near the “wow” factor of the bull.
Bennie has a bull roll then, too.
Some more music and then we’re done – leaving the party masses to work on the rest of the night.