Crown Princess Mary of Denmark may have been the official guest of honour for Sydney Opera House’s 40th Birthday celebrations, but it was a colourful caravan called Lolo that took centre stage.
The 1978 Viscount, formerly used as a radio outside broadcast van in Tamworth, was destined for the local tip when it was rescued by Sarah Bedak who’d been dreaming of converting a caravan into a stage.
Sarah boasts Hungarian Rroma heritage and she thought a caravan was the ideal performance space for her band. Lolo Lavina plays traditional Gypsy styles of music, at the same time positively promoting Rr
“I feel very privileged in Australia to be able to do this. If I was in Hungary the caravan would have been burned by now. The racism, harassment and murders (of Rroma people) there is quite terrifying.”
“I wanted to play with the gypsy caravan stereotype, while at the same time make our music more accessible in a uniquely Australian way, given our passion for caravan holidays.”
After a long search, Sarah found a builder who cut open the left hand-side.
“When I discussed my idea with tradesmen they thought I was mad, but one guy understood and agreed to take it on. He did a meticulous job.” of the van then reattached it with a piano hinge, which lowers to become the stage.
The hardest part Sarah says was taking a sledgehammer to the original interior. It’s been replaced with a warm, kitchy re-design, complete with flock wallpaper and old family photos on the walls.
“I wanted it to be like a lounge room, so I could invite people into our home. People just love it, especially the kids, they want to move in.’