Features August 6, 2018

Too much, magic bus! Dallas Frasca brings back her regional Hitch To The Sticks mystery tour

Christie Eliezer
Contributing Editor
Too much, magic bus! Dallas Frasca brings back her regional Hitch To The Sticks mystery tour

“We must be borderline crazy doing two in one year!” powerhouse blues guitarist and singer Dallas Frasca quips as she announces that her Hitch To The Sticks travelling regional trek is returning for the second time in 2018.

The first, in March, was a sell-out, with the Saturday night event drawing 4,000.

The sequel – Friday, October 12 to Sunday 14 –  has larger names along with rising acts also covers country Victoria.

Joining Frasca and The Northern Folk are Jebediah, Kate Ceberano, Killing Heidi, Tim Rogers, William Crighton, This Way North, The Quick & The Dead, Lee Rosser, The Greensmen, Droid, Ellen James, Mac’s Peak, Scratch Match, Rob Ely, Bricky B and Petty Crimes DJs.

The concept is simple: put 50 music lovers on a bus and do a 700km run over three days to catch 20 acts at ten events.

Frasca thought of the idea after she was invited by Music Victoria to join the first of its regular Victoria Crawl.

The Crawl took venue operators bookers, artists, managers and media on a bus to a number of regional spots to create relationships with music industry figures there.

“It was so fantastic,” she recounts. “Their initiative was to shine a light in areas in regional Victoria with strong music scenes.

“I went away from that great weekend with the thought, ‘What about those areas that aren’t doing very well?’”

Frasca, a regional musician brought up in Wangaratta and who, with her band, had performed 900 gigs over 13 years, pitched the idea to her manager Renee Delahunty.

Delahunty, her business partner at Spank Betty Records, and also production manager at the Queenscliff Music and Folk Rhythm & Life festivals, had an immediate response: “Do it!”

Hitch To The Sticks works on “mystery destinations” and “mystery” guests to augment the experience.

The 50 bus patrons are firmly told not to film the events or post them on social media.

Even today, Frasca has a “what happens on the bus stays on the bus” approach when talking about the first tour.

However we do know that those jumping on board included Sarah McLeod of The Superjesus and Nicky Bomba, the bus stopped in Violet Town for tea with the mum of Killing Heidi’s Ella and Jess Hooper who runs festivals, sets by Jo Jo Smith, a smoking ceremony, and a wander around a huge maze which saw the patrons lost for two hours.

On one night when punters returned to their accommodation, Frasca invited them for a couple of beers over a campfire. There waiting was Whitfield Crane, singer with US band Ugly Kid Joe, who started a singalong with UKJ songs and a passing AC/DC classic.

One patron so impressed with the experience had a tattoo of the HTTS logo done.

Says Frasca, “The whole trip was totally beyond our expectations. Magic is created when you take the walls down.”

With support from Wangaratta council to enlarge the second Hitch To The Sticks, the bus will again make its way up the Hume through Seymour, Moorngag, Lima East, Winton, Glenrowan, Wangaratta and Moyhu.

As for experiences and most of the events are listed under “magical mystery tour” although it will keep its offering of exclusive gigs, campfire jams and celebrity hitchhikers.

Frasca leaks there will be more cultural interchange with the local First Nation community.

With 85% of the acts being showcased from regional areas, the ultimate idea of Hitch To The Sticks is to build up a healthy regional touring circuit similar to the one which existed 20 years ago, and to encourage more venues to showcase live music.

“There’s so much talent in this areas, and it just means that bands don’t have to travel for three, four, hours just for one gig. But already one venue has started to run more gigs as a result of the first tour.”

Dates and venues:

Friday, Oct 12: Moorngag Hall, Moorngag with Mac’s Peak, Scratch Match, Rob Ely, Ellen James.

Saturday, Oct 13: Apex Park, Wangaratta with Jebediah, Killing Heidi, Tim Rogers, William Crighton, The Northern Folk, Petty Crimes DJs.

Sunday, Oct 14 (early): Malt Shed Brewery, Wangaratta, Rock n Roll Breakfast  with Lee Rosser, The Greensmen, Droid.

Sunday, Oct 14 (from mid-morning): Moyhu Hotel, Moyhu with Kate Ceberano, This Way North + more to be announced.

Ticket sales and information HERE

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