3630’s cancellation: A wake-up call for anyone who cares about live music in Shepparton.

Last Thursday, Shepparton’s music scene was dealt an almighty blow as this year’s 3630 Festival was cancelled.  Organisers stated the reason behind the cancellation was the previously-secured headline act (who never got announced) over-committing and pulling out of the event.  It sent a huge wave of sadness through Shepparton’s music community and was a real shame for all the previously-announced local acts who were going to play on the day.

Now that the dust has settled a bit – I’m going to share my detailed thoughts on the festival’s cancellation with you – most of which I scribbled down upon hearing the news on Thursday.   After all, I am a writer, I’m entitled to an opinion, and I am passionate about music in this town.  Take what you want out of this – but this isn’t a personal attack on anybody in particular, and hopefully you’ll read long enough to see the underlying message within this piece.

It was always going to be difficult to see 3630 return again this year – financially and reputation wise.  Aside from the fact that it posted a loss in the tens of thousands of dollars – a number of my music industry pals who were involved in last year’s event described it as a “shambles.”  Which, given the unfortunate mid-afternoon downpour that caused scheduling nightmares and saw two of the big acts (Muscles and 8 Bit Love) not even get to play their sets – is a fair call.  Infact, several people I have discussed 3630 with have wondered why the organisers bothered coming back when they’re already in debt.

For personal reasons, I have steered clear from supporting the festival this year.  I’m not going to go into detail over why I’ve taken this stance –  because that’s not what this is about.  It’s bigger than that.  It’s about how incredibly sad the cancellation of this event is for our city’s music scene.

Shepparton deserves to have an annual event like this to showcase our local talent.  Sure, I founded SheppSounds – but it’s only for a select number of people and certain types of performers.  And it only goes for a week or so, and is on a much smaller scale compared to 3630 and other festivals/major events that take place around here.

Shepparton is also a big enough regional centre to have some of Australia’s most popular bands and artists come and perform for the many live music-starved fans in our city.

On far too many occasions, bands and artists have included Bendigo, Ballarat, Traralgon and even Mildura or Warrnambool  in their tour itineraries – but Shepparton misses out.  And the reason for it is simple – there’s a lack of financial support and people power to lure these big acts here.

We are without an adequately-sized, purpose-built live music venue to cater for these acts, and we are also without anyone with financial muscle willing to part with their money to pay these acts appearance fees.  But then again – why would they want to when so many people in this town don’t pre-purchase their tickets and instead leave it to the day of the event to decide whether to go or not.  It’s just not worth the risk.

I believe the 3630 Festival’s cancellation is a gigantic wake-up call for anybody who cares about live music in this town.  It’s an indication of just how little support there is out there to bring well-known acts to Shepparton and that big changes are needed if we are going to turn Shepparton into a live music hub.

We need people and organisations that are willing to open their wallets to support the people who have the vision and the drive to do big things for the music scene in this town.  There are a select number of people in and around Shepparton – including those involved in 3630 – who are trying to make things happen, but too often, they cannot make their desired impact due to a lack of financial and organisational support – or a few wrong decisions and mishaps.  They put their bank balances on the line to do something for the town, and yet they are the ones who are unfairly burnt at the end because people don’t turn up.

But most importantly, music lovers in this town need to get out there, show their support up-front and buy their tickets in advance.  If they did that in droves, I’m certain that this year’s 3630 wouldn’t have been canned – regardless of the headline act pulling out.

So, Shepparton – if you want our town’s music scene to improve and for events like 3630 to take place again in the future – get your act together.  It’s a terrible shame that the demise of our own music festival is the sacrificial lamb amongst all of this.  But maybe, and hopefully, it’s the trigger point for those who can make a difference to wake up, take action and turn things around – and not let our music scene continue to stutter in its current state.

Mmm… Cookies.

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There are a hell of a lot of blogs about food & cooking out there. This isn’t one of them.

However, I couldn’t resist snapping my cookie-baking efforts this afternoon.. and whacking Cookie Muncher in there as well (naturally).

Mum & I whipped up a batch after we found a packet of Betty Crocker
choc-chip mix burried in the cupboard.

Needless to say, they were very easy to make – and taste bloody good too! I shall be taking a few up with me to Shepparton tonight to scoff over the w/e… provided my housemate doesn’t get to them when i’m not around.

Plankin’ in Lakes

Yeah yeah… i’m about nine months late on the whole planking craze.  But that’s exactly what a mate and I got up to during a bored/random moment on our Men’s Weekend in Lakes Entrance on Saturday.

Fresh from turning the phonebox into “Out Of Order” mode, Adam decided to perch himself across the two poles lying at the entrance of the Lakes Plaza – as we waited for Chris to finish up in the toilet.

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He successfully posed, and I then had the urge to do the same and bring out my inner superman.  Mind you, it was just a tad uncomfortable – I felt like I had a pole pumping right into my stomach!  But when you’re putting most of your weight on it, I guess that is to be expected.

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Oh, and for those of you still playing along at home – we then proceeded to go and buy some stuff from  Safeway.  The rest of the trip was filled with beach, eating at the pub, drinking, mini golf and watching movies.  Good times had by all.

Pounders

Speaking of lunch with Dave – here’s what we devoured: Pounders! Dave even got an extra patty added into his greaseball.

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Both of us hadn’t done one before, infact Dave had it on his list of stuff to do before he dies. Needless to say, I didn’t have much else to eat that day after 4 patties, cheese, sauce, onion etc!

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Doing an ‘Andy’

Yesterday, I had a bit of a Toy Story moment.

You know, the bit right at the end of the third movie when Andy’s about to move off to college?

*Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen it*  Andy drops by to a family friend’s house and gives his toys to their young daughter. He does this because he’s all grown up now and figures the toys would be better off with a new owner who will play with them – instead of gathering dust in his toy box.

This was the motive for me donating a few of my smallest soft toys to my friend Dave, who leaves for a three-year overseas adventure today. His first stop is Cambodia, where he and some touring buddies are going to visit a Cambodian orphanage and give the kids some toys and sporting equipment to brighten their lives.

Those of you who know me and have visited my home in Melbourne would know I still have a pretty massive soft toy collection which I collected during my youth (I was an only child, what could you expect?). I still pick up a toy occasionally if I see something unique on my travels too – last year I picked up a Cookie Muncher at a cookie shop in Queenstown, a kiwi on a spring after bungee jumping of Kawarau Bridge, and another panda at Adelaide Zoo.

However, by my own admission, the majority of the toys just sit in massive piles in my bedroom and my study – and I pay them hardly any attention these days.  And although I made a pledge when I was younger to never give away any of my toys and put them in some giant exhibition or museum one day, the thought of following in Andy’s footsteps and giving some of them a new loving home in another country seemed like a mature one and a decent opportunity to start the inevitable ‘cull’.

So, I went into my study, found a collection of small animals in a basket (a few of which came from Happy Meals at Maccas), gave them one last hug, whacked them in a bag and gave them to Dave when we caught up for lunch yesterday.  He’s promising to send me a few pics of the Cambodian kids with the toys, so I’ll share those on here once I get them.

In a way I felt bad, because I pretty much singled these toys out as ‘the ones I can live without’.  Even though they’re just made of fluff and have no trace of human life in them whatsoever, after seeing the Toy Story trilogy and having such a connection with the movies, I sometimes imagine that they (the toys) have their own feelings and thoughts too.

But you’ve gotta move on one day, and I still have plenty of my favourite toys hanging around in my room. So I’m glad to have farewelled some of them and have Dave pass them onto the Cambodian kids, because I know they will brighten their lives when they have so little to their name.  It’s also cleaned up a bit of floor space in my study, which is great because it needs a gigantic cleanout!

Heck, I can live without all of my soft toys – and I have plenty of typical 24-year-old activities and interests (work, partying, girls, travel etc.) that occupy my time these days.

But they represent my childhood, which was such a fun and memorable time in my life – and contribute to my personality as well. And for that, I’m proud to still have them hanging around and occupying floor space in my room.

The Beginning

It’s a new year, so I figure it’s the perfect time to launch my newest writing outlet.  My own blog.

As some of you may know, I am a former journalist with the Shepparton News and occassionaly do reviews and bits and pieces for Inpress.  I’m also about to start writing for a new website – musicfeeds.com.au – but more on that later.

The main purpose of me establishing this is to keep up my writing skills and keep on sharing my thoughts with the world while I continue my hunt for a full-time job.  But even when I do get something, this will remain another outlet for me to publish and share stuff that might not normally make it into the publications I work for.  So, naturally, to quote that typical Twitter phrase – “All thoughts and opinions expressed on here are my own.”

And on that note, opinion pieces are what you’re going to see a lot of from me on here.  It’s something I really want to work on as a writer.  Blogs and social media publishing platforms have opened up so many new outlets and avenues for people to express their thoughts on what’s going on in the world – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.  I haven’t recieved many chances to do this in my past writing endevours – the closest I’ve come is numerous editorials for the Shepp News summarising the contents of the WOW magazine for that week.  So I’m looking forward to sharing with you my thoughts about what’s happening around me and the places I live in (I’m currently diving my time between Shepparton and Melbourne).

But it’s not going to be all news though – I’ll be doing several posts about my life and the people in it – ones that deserve more than 140 characters in a Twitter update or sentance or two in a Facebook status.  You’ll also see plenty of repostings of stories I’ve done or stuff which I’ve found on the web that catches my eye.

So, get following, get commenting, and come join me on the ride.  It’s going to be fun – I promise 🙂