The Mane Event Q&A

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

The Mane Event Q&A

The time to shift the stigma around mental health is fast approaching, and helping change the conversation is The Mane Event organiser Jon Gilchrist (alongside co-organiser Tristan Gall) who are doing so by starting a conversation and raising funds through a music festival.
Hi Jon, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
I’m currently on my computer bombarding Facebook with The Mane Event poster and ticket link! We have the bands, the venue, the equipment and the volunteers all ready, so at the moment we are just in the promotion stage. All we need are people to come and enjoy it.
For those who don’t know, the Mane Event is all about raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention and mental health, how important is it to have the conversation about these things?
The conversation is definitely the most important thing. Raising funds is obviously important too, but creating a day and a space where people feel comfortable talking about their issues is what we really hope to achieve. And what better way than through the power of music!
The event has run for a number of years too, do you think the conversation around suicide and mental health has improved?
As we have seen, the last few years a few high profile people have come out and admitted they have mental issues and depression – this has really helped. I think even 10 years ago, if an AFL player came out and said they were suffering depression, people would have just laughed and told him to eat a tablespoon of concrete! Today, we are definitely more accepting but we still have a lot of work to do.
What first sparked the idea to create the event?
Myself and Tristan (the other creator of the event) have personally suffered from depression and anxiety. The true catalyst, however, was Tristan’s suicide attempt, and the lack of medical support before and after his attempt. We wanted to tell our stories and put a spotlight on mental health to give those people that were suffering in silence the strength to speak out, while the hospital system catches up.
The profits do go towards Headspace this year, how did you go about choosing the organisation to support?
Last year we raised $2,000 for BeyondBlue, a fantastic organisation who really work on mental health awareness. We have chosen Headspace Geelong this year, because the funds will go directly into our community. Headspace have clinics in Geelong, Corio and Drysdale with qualified GPs, psychologists, and counsellors. They run help lines and school programs and work a lot with indigenous communities. They also focus on the 12 to 25 age group, which we believe to be really important. Teaching the younger generation to recognise the signs of mental illness will be an incredible service to our future community.
In terms of the bands involved, are they all ones that support the cause?
We are so humbled at the support this year. So many local bands have donated their time to this event, and we had many more we couldn’t fit into the line up. Even our headline acts have greatly reduced their performance fees and fully support what we are trying to do.
Given the event has run before, what can attendees expect at the festival?
The most amazing thing is the atmosphere you feel when you walk around. There is such an amazing comforting relaxed vibe, and then there’s the music! The front bar stage for cruisy acoustic acts, and the two main stages out the back running alternately, so there is always a band playing! Non stop music and a great safe atmosphere.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with Forte, is there anything you’d like to add before we finish up?
This festival couldn’t happen without the amazing support of the Barwon Club Hotel, and of course our sponsors; BMD, Wurth, Geelong Football Club, Geelong Connected Communities, G21, Up Creative, Narana, Wathaurong, SC Technologies, Swann Design, Nagle & Co., Sergi Cranes, Northern Exposure Art and Framing and Sold Out Productions. Apart from all that, just come and enjoy!
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – October 17