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442 - 445 Goonoo Goonoo Road

Tamworth NSW 2340

Across the road from the Golden Guitar

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  • Annie Lewis

Hay Mate, thanks for coming​



It’s been a common joke these last few weeks at the station when someone says “hey mate” as a greeting or to ask a question, we respond with “buy a bale”.

This day however, and what it stands for, is far from being a joke.

Yesterday, the Hay Mate Buy a Bale, A Concert for the Farmers raised $2 million dollars. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?


Turning a day of music and relief for the farmers into a nationally televised event, with a telethon was just one of the parts that made this day so special.

Not to mention how special the sight of the green grass would have been to our farmers as they piled into Scully Park, camp chairs and picnic blankets in hand.

The atmosphere here was just electric.


Concertgoers preparing for a day of music and sun at Scully Park

We knew who our locals were, as many of them pulled out the ol’ straw hat from Country Music Festival, trying to keep the 30 degree heat at bay.

That didn’t stop concertgoers line-dancing to Adam Harvey or moshing for Nat Conway’s special rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody’.


We knew who our locals were, as many of them pulled out the ol’ straw hat from Country Music Festival, trying to keep the 30 degree heat at bay.

That didn’t stop concertgoers line-dancing to Adam Harvey or moshing for Nat Conway’s special rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody’.

Kids were recreating the famous ‘baby rolling down the hill’ videowhich went viral in Tamworth not two weeks prior, and tucked in the back were the generous Qantas passengers who came up from the big smoke to truly see first-hand, the denigrating effects of drought.

What this concert means to the region, to Tamworth, is more than words could explain.

Aid-concerts don’t come around every day (thank goodness), but when they do, they represent the coming together of a community, of a consciousness all around a cause.

Drought.

It was declared that 100% of NSW is in drought, not two months ago and it’s fair to say not much has gotten better.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced days ago a $5 billion future drought fund, which when passed through Parliament, will provide support in community services, research, technology and infrastructure.

Then there was the announcement of the Emergency Drought Relief Package covering transport, fees, animal welfare and stock disposal and more importantly, counselling and mental health.

And with the efforts of Aussie Helpers, Rural Aid, and even more locally, Doing It For Our Farmers and R U Aware We Care, have we done enough?



Drought at Chaffey Dam, October 2018. Photo by Nikki Kenwrick

Hopefully after last night’s telethon, the support of all the corporate sponsors, the artists donating their time to be here and everyone who bought a ticket, we have made a big enough dent in this drought-ridden state.

Nothing brings people together more than music, and what better opportunity than an aid concert, in the heart of the drought, Tamworth.

A big shout out to Local Member for Parliament, Kevin Anderson who was the MC for the day—there was so much energy and excitement for what would have been the last-minute gig of a lifetime.

Both 2TM and 92.9fm spent the day broadcasting from the event, with Sally-Ann Whitten and Jack Howard sharing the pre-event excitement and details.

Then of course between Scotty, JB, Jack and myself (Jess), we kept you up to date with the day’s events and as close to the music as possible.

There were interviews from Aleyce Simmonds, Nat Conway and I played a poorly constructed version of ‘Untouched’ I recorded on my piano at home ahead of The Veronicas taking the stage at 4pm.

We even had a visit from the lovely Paul Lobb and Natasha Beyersdorf from the NBN Newsroom,  not to mention we even managed to dash across the road to see Kerrie and Wendy’s near-perfect set up—all the sound but no stage to look at.


Kerrie and Wendy's near-perfect Hay Mate party across the road from Scully Park.

It’s almost hard to pick a favourite moment.

Was it the touching words Guy Sebastian shared during his set?

Was it singing Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses and Farnsy’s You’re The Voice under the moonlight with thousands of people?

News Journalist Jack will tell you it was finally snagging a photo with his dream girls, Jess and Lisa Origliasso—The Veronicas.


Opening with Untouched, The Veronicas performed at the Hay Mate Buy a Bale concert on Saturday.

For me and I know for Scotty, it was when Jon Stevens of Noiseworks took to the stage with INXS songwriter Andrew Farriss, giving us a perhaps the only taste of INXS we might have for a long time.

It’s no surprise Stevens and Farriss were an absolute hit, and while INXS songs are nostalgic for the older audiences, there were so many young people getting into What You Need and Never Tear Us Apart.

Even Stevens’ new drought relief song Rain Down On Me brought so much energy to Scully Park.

Talking to Scotty, 92.9fm Drive Announcer, Stevens talked about creating awareness in the cities.

“I think people that live in the cities are kinda isolated to the fact that there’s massive problems going on out in the country,” he said.

“Bringing the focus, bringing the spotlight onto the drought affected areas will hopefully galvanise the city folk to dig deep.”

And dig deep they did.


Jon Stevens and Andrew Farriss performed some INXS classics at Hay Mate Buy a Bale Concert in Tamworth on Saturday.

$2 million dollars were raised in the telethon alone on Saturday night.

Now I know there are a lot of nay-sayers, people who think this money might not go to the right people or be distributed properly, but let’s just hold onto this moment and have a bit of faith.

This is something far bigger than ourselves.

And we did it together.

While this journey for ‘Hay Mate: Buy a Bale, a concert for the farmers’ is now over, the journey to support them is not.

If you can, spend time reaching out to friends or family that are farmers. Give them someone to talk to. Take them care packages of food and toiletries, volunteer your time in local groups like Doing It for Our Farmers.

Or take the time to ‘buy a bale’ and donate to Rural Aid.

Every cent counts.


Jessica Renaglia | Workday Announcer

LOCAL News

with Annie Lewis