The life of a working musician is, for the most part, not the greatest financial experience. Having said that, it is amazing just how often and how sincerely musicians contribute to events, both by direct donation and organising and by playing free to entertain a crowd and encourage them to contribute.
Over the years, I have been at events to help get a musician through some serious heart operations and support his family while doing it. A Melbourne musician organised some crowdfunding so that a musician on tour in Europe didn’t have to sell her bass to raise enough money to get back here. However, one of the most amazing and dedicated efforts that I want to make a fuss about is Blues for Lost Souls, which was organised by Greg Dodd.
In his typically understated way, Greg called this “A blues music charity event to raise money, food and clothing to support the homeless.” He organised a line-up for the event which many festivals would have been happy to have – Chris Finnen and the Melbourne Blues Disciples, Jules Boult and the Redeemers, Doc White and Si Compadres, Sweet Felicia and the Honeytones with Rod Paine, Phil Manning and Chris Finnen in an acoustic duo, Dan Dinnen, Dreamboogie, The Detonators and the Ruby Rogers Experience.
The event was held in August, $30 on the door, and people were encouraged to also bring tinned food, socks, gloves, beanies and scarves. What would an event like this be without a couple of raffles? There was a sensational Cole Clark acoustic guitar as the major prize, an Octigan guitar, a poster for the Hard Road Concert signed by all the headliners, Blues Train passes, a socket set (!) and other prizes as well.
In the midst of this was Greg organising, promoting, encouraging and reminding one and all of the event. It was sensational! The music was good, too. The event raised $19,323, all going direct to The Father Bob Maguire Foundation & The Big Umbrella. Now, I’ll be the first to say that Greg did have a committee behind him, including Dave Padroth, Lou Castle and the wonderful 2ic Linda Elridge, but it was Greg’s energy and commitment that was the face of the event.
You often hear a musician described as a person who puts $5000 worth of gear in a $500 car and travels five hours to a $50 gig. There’s an element of truth in that, but there’s so much more.
But returning to the issue of musicians (and fans) supporting musicians, Harry Kuehnel is suffering from bone cancer and is terminally ill. Harry is a legendary Geelong guitarist and has been playing since the sixties as lead guitarist with many bands that are well known in the region. He has played with bands including The Howlin’ Wolves, Chicken Shack, Mack, The Fendermen, The Grizzly Brothers and The Stew.
By John (Dr John) Lamp, Photo by Jovian Projects