The last time we toured Far North Queensland, we were raising money for the Western Queensland Drought Relief. Now that we’re about to head there again, they’ve just faced the worst floods in the region’s history.
In 2015, we stayed for nearly a week in Winton. We flew over dusty plains into Longreach, then took the dirt road lined with huge dead red kangaroos out to Winton. We visited the dinosaur museum and the musical fence where Gotye famously sampled some of the sounds used on [2010 song] Eyes Wide Open. We played a show on the back of a truck in the main street that weekend but the highlight of the visit to Winton was sitting in the pub with the locals. There’s no better place to learn about your surroundings.
Following the show in Winton, we played in Longreach and then drove 10 hours for a show in Townsville. We didn’t have pumping crowds at these gigs. It was different from playing in Sydney or Melbourne. We played for the locals, we danced with the locals and we got to know some of the locals. This sort of country is the real Australian country. Being surrounded by such a vast and open landscape blows everything irrelevant out of your mind. A town like Winton is so much a part of this landscape that everyone feels the effects when the environment changes, whether they’re a farmer or working behind the bar at one of the two pubs. Playing music to the locals that don’t get many travelling bands passing through was great and the fact that we were raising money to help those struggling with drought made the run of shows extra special for us.
Our Dad has been travelling to Winton for the last 10 years. He followed us on this tour with a video camera. We visited abandoned shearing sheds, dried up riverbeds and remote towns on our “shortcut” route across the country. This footage ended up getting cut together to form the music video for a past single of ours, titled Not That Easy.
Now nearly half a million cattle lie dead and drowned in North Queensland due to the floods and many farmers have been left with nothing. It’s important to help anyone in tragic times. With our busy lives, it’s easy to forget about what’s going on elsewhere.
As a band you spark joy, inspiration, bring people together and often take their minds off whatever else is going on in their lives. The timing of the Way Out Fest is perfect for the other bands on the line up to get involved with these communities; spark that joy where it’s needed most. It needs to happen, they deserve it!
This is a time when people up north really need all the help they can get, and if our way of helping is getting up on stage and playing music, that’s what we’re going to do! Whether you’re in the area or on the other side of Australia, everyone can find a way to help out.
Some of the most genuine people we’ve ever met come from this area and it’s going to be great to get back there for Way Out West festival. We can’t wait to get back.
For more details on Way Out West, scroll down.