Twenty-eight years of existing and the Sweethearts are still creating amazing opportunities for young emerging female talent in the Geelong region, with the most recent being a chance to tour through Europe to some of the world’s biggest festivals.
“It’s an opportunity that I’ll probably never get again,” band member Kelli Blackmore says of playing Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, The Porretta Soul festival in Italy and Jazz a Vienne in France in the coming months.
“Anyone who’s anyone has performed [at Montreux]. ‘Smoke on the Water’ was written there because of the casino that caught on fire, so there’s so much musical history, and it’s just going to be crazy to see all the people who are playing.”
With Kelli being too young to enjoy the previous tour through America (which saw band members play in Memphis, Nashville, Chicago and Detroit), this new experience will add to what’s already been a pretty life-changing opportunity.
“Before Sweethearts I wasn’t really doing music at all,” she admits. “The time that I spend here is going to benefit me later. That’s something you can’t buy in a store; you have to experience it.
“You understand the music, you understand how to perform, how to set up and you get all these skills that you need for performing and then you go and perform.”
Overall the Sweethearts journey is about nurturing young female musicians to set them up for a career in music, or at the very least, to be a chance to indulge in one of their passions.
The proof is in the graduates of the band, with past members Janeva, Alice Ivy and Imogen Brough all achieving great things in the industry. And they’re just recent members.
“It’s just crazy to think that there is life after Sweethearts,” Kelli adds of the other girls’ success.
Before there’s talk of “life after Sweethearts” or even before the band board their flight to Europe, they’re throwing one big fundraiser event, called ‘Party’, to help make it all possible.
“Party has been going as long as Sweethearts now,” she says. “It’s a big soul event and we encourage anyone and everyone to come. It’s a bit of a funky boogaloo place.”
The event offers a taster of what the girls have to offer the European audiences, with the spectrum of their soul sound, right from sweeter soul to full frontal funk.
It takes place in the Captain’s Room at the Geelong Football Club on May 27, with some delicious food to compliment the music and each ticket contributing directly to the European tour. And as soon as the girls step off stage at Party, it’ll be a series of mad rehearsals before leaving for Europe in July.
“In the end it’s going to be one of the best experiences of our lives,” Kelli says confidently of heading to Europe.
If you can’t make the fundraiser, you can also donate here.
When & Where: ‘Party’ is held at the Captain’s Room, Geelong Football Club – May 27. Tickets available from Trybooking. Soul in the Basement @ Cherry Bar, Melbourne – May 4.
Written by Amanda Sherring