It must be the eve of an election year when politicians take time out of their holidays to appear at a folk festival.
Even if you're retired from politics it could be worth a few votes.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke has made his fifth appearance at the Woodford Folk festival in Queensland, and successfully convinced Prime Minister Julia Gillard to speak at the 27th annual get-together, about an hour's drive northwest of Brisbane.
Sunday was the first time a sitting prime minister has attended the festival, which attracts around 100,000 people over six days, although Kevin Rudd was there in 2011, when a member of the audience threw her black undies at him.
Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull made up the opposition ranks this time, swanning around the hot and hilly site, guided by a local Queensland politician, Liberal National Party federal member Wyatt Roy.
In between stand-up TV interviews, Mr Turnbull gave a talk criticising the media for dumbing down big issues and focussing on spin rather than facts.
At a shaded table at festival director Bill Hauritz's "donga", Mr Hawke told AAP one of the reasons he was prepared to battle the heat and crowds, including lines of stalls selling anything from incense to sandals, was because of his "old mate Bill".
"It's always something a bit different. The constant is old Bill," he joked.
"I have enormous admiration for what he's done," he said, referring to a festival which has at times been overshadowed by financial difficulties and weather problems, including the massive Queensland floods.
Mr Hawke and his wife, Blanche d'Alpuget, stay with Mr Hauritz and the former PM had had his portrait painted at Bill's Bar, where the festival director does a daily morning rant known as Bill's Grill.
"Blanche used to come when it was at Maleny," Mr Hawke said referring to the festival's humble beginnings at a nearby town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
"It's a very friendly, congenial environment. No aggro."
Woodford now embraces workshops, talks and a variety of music, as well as a theatrical opening ceremony which Mr Hawke described as a "remarkable tribute to those in charge".
While admitting he is not a "jazz fiend" Mr Hawke said he tended to like folk music as well as classical music.
"It has a great atmosphere which arises from the fact that there's a very wide range of interesting performances, dancing, singing, comedy and a dash of serious stuff. And the sort of people who are interested I think are attractive people."
He described the audience as probably more questioning than the usual ones.
"They don't necessarily accept things the way they are ... they're environmentally conscious."
The audience lined up to ask Mr Hawke fairly amiable questions - apart from one on Tibet - after he delivered his talk on China and Australia, a subject he knows well, having visited China 93 times.
He told the crowd, which spilled out of a tent known as Concert and included babies and children, there was no developed country which has benefited more from China's economic growth than Australia.
"It worries me to hear so much apprehensive and, I believe, absolutely foolish and stupid irresponsible talk about China and the the fear that China poses."
In fact, all Australians are "indebted" to what is happening there.
"It's inarguable that your living standards ... (are) higher than they would otherwise be if we didn't have this very significant and prosperous trading economic relationship with the People's Republic of China," he said.
It was Ms Gillard's turn to address the festival crowd on Sunday in a so-called "surprise" visit, one of the worst-kept secrets since the Gallipoli landing.
Rumours had been circulating for days but the festival organisers refused to confirm whether the PM was coming or not, until Sunday morning.
Ms Gillard joined Mr Hawke and Mr Hauritz for a largely informal chat in the same "Concert" venue as the China talk.
With the election not due until October, she singled out education and the National Disability Insurance Scheme as two key areas her government will focus on before calling it, and indicated it won't be until the second half of this year.
"I want to see us launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme on the first of July," she told the festival crowd.
Ms Gillard said she was proud of becoming Australia's first female prime minister.
And Mr Hawke told the crowd: "Julia's determination has come through and she's now respected absolutely in her right as a person and that's the way as it should be."
* The writer was a guest of the Woodford Folk Festival.