OH AYE: Gemfest's MC for Friday was Scottish Highlander Joch Strapp.
OH AYE: Gemfest's MC for Friday was Scottish Highlander Joch Strapp. Taylor Battersby

Bonnie folk are Anakie

WHEN you head out to Anakie, you are bound to meet some interesting characters.

One of the most interesting people at this year's Gemfest would be Friday's MC, who goes by the name Joch Strapp.

Event organiser Avril van Zyl said Mr Strapp went by many names and had many disguises, but rarely revealed his true identity.

The man himself has been making the trek up to Gemfest from the Sunshine Coast for 12 years.

When asked what kept him coming back to Anakie and one of Australia's biggest gem festivals, Mr Strapp said it was the people.

"It's the people. It's the place. It's the real Australia,” he said.

"That's what I like about it. Out here, it's the real Australia - you meet real people from all over the country.

"It's a family atmosphere - the committee, the volunteers, the guests, the entertainment.

"It's like a big, happy family every time you come here.”

Mr Strapp said when he visited Anakie, he made sure that he saw as much of the surrounding area as possible.

"I get around as much as I can. I have a look around at Sapphire and Rubyvale and a bit of a look around Emerald,” he said.

"I take as long as I can to get up here and as long as I can to go home.

"I could live out here very easily.”

Mr Strapp was looking forward to hearing Central Queensland band Homegrown during Saturday's event.

"They (Homegrown) are world class - absolutely fantastic,” he said.

"Very impressed. I actually had little tears and tingles up my spine listening to those kids.

"They're very, very good. I can't stress that enough - how bloody good they are.

"I hope they have good management behind them because if they do, they'll go far.”

While he's not sure yet if he would return next year to MC Gemfest again due to work commitments, Mr Strapp said if the committee asked, he would "give it a lot of thought”.