Now in its fourth year, the Light of Day Australia Winter Gigs fundraiser is an annual event held to raise money for research into Parkinson’s Disease. The original Light of Day fundraiser in 2000 was hosted in New Jersey in the United States, and has since spread to Europe as well as this single event in Australia. 30 Australians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every day.
For the event, four cafes along the main street of Ocean Grove are turned into impromptu music venues for a weekend, with ticket sales for gigs at the respective venues going straight to the cause.
This year, Ocean Grove institutions the Piping Hot Chicken and Burger Grill, the Olive Pit, Maggie’s Bar and Driftwood Cafe are all on board. The fundraiser will be held over Friday July 21 and Saturday July 22.
The headline act for this year’s Winter Gigs weekend is three-time ARIA award winner Michael Spiby of the Badloves. Other acts include Julie Walter, Jimi Hocking, Dreamboogie and Dirty Soul.
“It’s a great concept,” says Sam Hanson, whose band is playing the event. He and his four-piece folk rock outfit, 10 High Fly, will be playing a late night gig on the Saturday night at Maggie’s Bar. Hanson is playing a separate acoustic gig earlier in the evening at the Olive Pit.
“I love going to watch bands and going to concerts and things like that, but to be able to perform and show your talent and at the same time help support such a great cause, being Parkinson’s, is really great,” Hanson says of being asked to play.
Hanson and his band started achieving wider success last year after winning K-Rock’s The Band competition back in 2015, but says that to be asked to play a fundraiser is a humbling experience.
“You just [perform], you have fun and then what comes of it will happen. I think to be asked by these people to play is an honour, it’s really something. The people that are asking you, they’re asking you because they want your abilities and what can you do, so it’s really humbling to be asked to play these sorts of gigs”.
Hanson is grateful for the opportunity to give back to his community in some way.
“It’s my hometown, and I think if you can help someone with something that you absolutely love doing, it’s a no brainer,” Hanson says.
“I feel that I’d help out anyone if I possibly could, so to be asked to play is such a great thing and to donate your time to help people out that are less fortunate or going through harder things… hopefully it puts a different spin on the matter and raises a bit of money at the same time, as well as raises awareness.”
Hanson is impressed by the community spirit displayed during the fundraiser.
“There’s not too many places around now that virtually close the whole street off and have a big street party in that sort of atmosphere. You can go from one to another venue and they’re literally 10 to 20 meters away from each other. It’s a really good gig to go to, it’s a really good fundraiser and you won’t really find anything like it around the traps I think!”.
Tickets to Light of Day gigs can be purchased at lightofdayaustralia.com.
Written by Lauren Muscat