Brisbane flood relief concerts raise $35,000-plus: ‘This is the power of community music scenes’
A pair of hastily-arranged flood benefit concerts in Brisbane raked in a combined sum upwards of $35,000, with all funds going to help those who’ve been hammered by the east coast weather crisis, TIO can exclusively reveal.
The Brightside in Fortitude Valley, a venue familiar to anyone who’s attended the Bigsound night programme, hosted benefits on March 5, and again on March 11.
The first of those bookenders was headlined by Spacey Jane (on DJ duties), along with Hope D, Shag Rock and more, raising $19,237.61 to help victims of the recent floods in southeast Qld and northern NSW.
“It was a classic quick turnaround gig,” notes Chris Langenberg, CEO at Grain and agent at Social State Entertainment, venue booker for The Brightside and several other sunshine state venues.
Like so many music community fundraisers that came before, this event was a combination of serendipity and swiftly having every hand at the pump.
“I was chatting to Spacey Jane’s manager and realised they were in Brisbane the same day and that they would love to be involved,” Langenberg tells TIO.
“From there I booked the line-up over 24-hrs, and two-lineup announces and ended up selling 700 tickets in a day.”
All tickets raised money for GIVIT to purchase essential items for flood victims in Qld and NSW.
The donations ballooned when Jameson and Philter jumped on board to give the venue free stock that was sold with all proceeds going to the cause.
After two years of a soul-destroying pandemic, performing artists are in no position to raise money for others, but once again, creatives dug deep without hesitation.
“I didn’t exactly know what to expect for the event,” Langenberg notes, “especially knowing that almost everyone in Brisbane either had been affected or knows someone that was heavily affected by the floods but of course, as it has been proven so many times, the music industry and scene are willing to dig deep and help out when people need it the most.”
The March 11 show, headlined by Regurgitator and featuring Phil Jamieson, The Fauves, Mitch, Please, and more, raised $16,000 for the Lismore Flood Appeal.
Different week, similar story.
Regurgitator had a rehearsal booked for Springloaded and Miami Marketta shows, though, on the suggestion of Greg Jard, a Byron Bay resident who works with Regurgitator doing front of house sound, suggested turning those sessions into a fund raiser.
Jard had witnessed first-hand the scale of destruction in northern NSW and the lack of support from above, notes Consume Mgmt/Valve Records founder Paul Curtis.
“From there I asked Regurgitator and they of course agreed to playing what was literally a live rehearsal,” Curtis tells TIO.
“It was a case of finding a venue at short notice and my good friend (Social State Entertainment co-founder) James Power confirmed the Brightside carpark was available – the inside venue also became available due to a cancellation relative to COVID exposure.”
Over the weekend and across Monday, Curtis and Langenberg assembled a line-up of music artists “all willing to commit time and energy,” recounts Curtis. “Actually we had way more interest in the end than what was possible to include.”
The bill was announced on the Tuesday with Oztix coming on board. Community station 4ZZZ jumped in and committed their services for gratis.
“Considering the three-day turnaround, and the fact that people are living in a state of financial duress to some degree given the past few years we did what we could,” notes Curtis. “But really everyone collaborates in this kind of thing, from the bands to the crew and administrative folks.”
The cause was particularly close to home for performers Masochist, whose drummer “has lost pretty well everything in the flooding,” Curtis says.
Backline hire company GBH offered gear free of charge, but organisers couldn’t take up the offer. The company is based in Brisbane’s West End and were subject to flooding, and were in the process of moving as much equipment as possible to higher ground.
“This is the power of community music scenes in action working together,” Curtis enthuses.
The flood waters have subsided, and the expensive clean-up is ongoing.
The artist community and music industry has seen it all before, and mobilized each time.
Social State Entertainment co-founder James Power pays tribute to the “great work” by Curtis and Langenberg. “Paul and the Gurge team were immediately thinking of ways to raise funds for the floods victims just like the 2011 benefit at the HiFi Brisbane in the last huge floods. That’s why they’re the best.”
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.