Hope – that’s what event director Darren Jones says the Band Together Farmers concert in Parkes on Saturday brought to those struggling through the drought.
More than 2500 people from around the Central West came out to support Saturday's fundraiser at the Parkes Showground.
Funds from the concert, which are still yet to be finalised, will go to the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, which is based in Orange and plays a key role in supporting rural communities during the drought.
Attendees pulled out their camping chairs and rolled out the picnic blankets to sit in the warm sun, while others danced in the dust to some of Australia’s best rock bands and artists, like Hoodoo Gurus, Mark Seymour and the Undertow, 1927 and ARC Supergroup (members of You Am I, Powderfinger and Jet).
One of the highlights of the day was the air display of the Roulettes, the Royal Australian Air Force's formation aerobatic display team who took to the skies at 4.45pm.
“The feedback has been amazing,” Darren said. “People are thankful [for the event]…It gives people a bit of hope and a vision looking forward.
“We are known for helping each other through crisis.”
Darren said the event ran very smoothly, after kicking off at 1.30pm and finishing just after 10pm.
“It went really well...I’ve got no complaints,” he said.
Apart from the smashing performance from the Hoodoo Gurus – the final act of Band Together Farmers – Darren said ARC Supergroup and the Roulettes were among his highlights.
“The Roulettes were fantastic,” he said. “I’m a bit of a plane nerd.”
Darren would like to thank everyone involved.
“Thank you to all who fed us, to the hotels who took us in, all the volunteers and bar staff,” he said.
“A special mention must go to Samantha Dunlop from the Parkes Hotel. She blew it out of the water, she did so much work, she was a machine.”
Darren also thanked Parkes Shire Council, major sponsor Clean TEQ and REX Airlines who gave band members free return flights.
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“And thank you to the staff at the Parkes Radio Telescope who gave the bands a private tour of the Dish, that was phenomenal,” he said.
“The boys raved on about that.”
The rave reviews of Band Together Farmers reached the Parkes Shire Council Chambers on Tuesday during November’s monthly meeting.
Cr Neil Westcott and Cr Bill Jayet represented council at the concert and praised the event.
“It goes to show what you can do,” Cr Westcott said. “It was a great concept and a great experience, it seems there was a fabulous atmosphere.
“[It involved] a group of people who were out to have a good night, it was really well done.”
And according to local police, concert goers were well behaved.
“The function was well patronised and police did not have any adverse interactions,” Chief Inspector Dave Cooper said.