Culture in recess
- Post by: Danny McDonald
It’s been more than 18 months since an old friend Brett from Sale texted me about doing a gig at the once quaint and now much-loved Bundalaguah Hall, here in Gippsland.
It was January 2020 and I’d not long released my ‘Modern architecture’ EP. The Melbourne launch was locked in and the timing was perfect for a follow-up in regional Victoria, so I took the gig for 3 July 2020.
The Melbourne launch was a great. The EP was gathering momentum and the band was sounding better than ever. And then, within the space of a few weeks, it all came to a grinding halt.
After a couple of false starts, our Bundalaguah gig was eventually rescheduled for 23 July 2021 – a little over a year after the original date and a long way out from the new one. Brett and fellow Bundy Hall promoter Paul worked hard to rearrange the artists, crew and logistics, reconnecting with ticket-holders and sorting out refunds for the folks who could no longer make it.
We got to within a few weeks of the new date, before the state was plunged back into its fifth lockdown in a little over a year. With a quicker reopening expected, the Bundy team scrambled to find a new date and managed to re-reschedule for Wed 11 August. A few days later, lockdown six was upon us and we all know what came next.
We’re now looking ahead to the new year – possibly in March 2022. I’m hopeful it’ll come off, but there’s a fair bit of water to go under the bridge before then. If I’ve learnt anything over the last year and bit, it’s to hope for the best but not get too far ahead of myself.
Unfortunately it’s an all-to-familiar story for people involved in making live music. The artists, crews, venues, bookers and everyone involved – everybody’s been affected in one way or another and people are tired.
Brett and Paul at the Bundy are volunteers. They put in long hours of their own time to bring these shows to the local community and as Brett says, “for the love of music”.
Many of us are in the same boat. We do it because we love it. But lots – including some of my dearest friends – rely on gigs to put bread on the table. Sadly, the level of social support available to these good people has been grossly insufficient.
They need our support right now. If you can, please go online and buy Australian music and merch, directly from the artist. It all helps.
It’s been tough for the punters, too. People have made plans, bought tickets, taken leave and booked accomodation to come to shows like ours, only to have their plans turned upside down. Without their support, we’d have nothing to promote. Victoria is a state of arts and music lovers, many of whom have been starved of their culture for a fair while now. Our culture is in recess.
As Brett said to me earlier this week, we’ll get there – and we definitely will. Until then, we need to keep supporting our local artists, writers, musicians and crews – sending a few bob their way, when we can. We need to them to keep doing what they do and we need to look after them.
Let’s be grateful for the volunteers, too. People like Brett and Paul who are out there in our communities, planning and plotting the return of live music as soon as it can possibly happen and keeping our culture alive – giving us a reason to be optimistic.
We’ll get there.