This is the second in a four-part series looking at the broad community benefits of Music Festivals in the Townsville region.
Lifting the Outback is a first for Townsville. The 11-hour festival features some of the best country music performers from across Australia, coming together to raise funds for flood relief in Western Queensland.
Organiser Quentin Kersh said the event would donate directly to the areas that needed it the most and serve as a reminder that communities were only just starting to recover.
“Lifting the Outback urges people to get out there and support these issues because the press have already forgotten about the floods in Western Queensland,” said Quentin.
“We picked three months after the floods to hold the event because we knew [the media would move on], but this hasn’t gone away – people out West will be recovering for months or years.
“They’re just starting to come to grips with what has happened, fixing their fences and rebuilding their herds. On top of the financially crippling aspects, it’s mentally very tough, so we’re just trying to highlight this is still a problem out there and hoping to lift their spirits.”
The idea of a concert came from Quentin and his wife Sandy’s personal desire to contribute to flood relief.
“I’m from the Richmond area, I grew up on sheep and cattle stations, and the family and friends I still have out there, were badly flooded. Sandy and I decided we’d donate $20,000 towards outback relief but then thought ‘Why do $20,000 when we have a venue and the opportunity to do something even bigger?’
Musicians were quick to catch on.
“Busby Marou are at the point where they’re just so busy that they stick to a pretty set-in-stone schedule, but I spoke to their manager and within 10 minutes he rang me back and said that they agreed it was a genuine cause close to their hearts and they’d do it; Amber Lawrence and Brad Cox were the same, it’s been so awesome that they’ve all gotten behind it. Hurricane Fall and their manager Mike Vee have been really helping us out, we just can’t believe it.”
All proceeds from the Lifting the Outback will go directly to the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) and Blaze Aid.
“They’re two organisations making sure funds raised go straight to the horse’s mouth. QCWA is a very easy way for people in these communities to access money, and Blaze Aid are just an incredible organisation of volunteers out there at the moment fixing fences on over 100 stations.
“It is scary seeing the number of my school friends affected, they’ve lost anything from 20 to 100 per cent of everything they own, and it will take a long time for them to get back on their feet – so we want them to know we’re still here to help.”
Catch Lifting the Outback at NQ Elite Rodeo on Saturday 25 May, with tickets available at Townsville Tickets.