“Please take the money you were going to spend on the tickets and donate to Wildlife Victoria, CFA, RFS – anyone helping out with relief efforts.”
“It’s amazing to see the community come together on this,” said Dave Hughes. “It’s a very small thing for a comedian to do.”
Artists aren’t just arranging traditional shows. Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco, who kicks off an Australia-wide tour on Friday, is hosting a weekend sausage sizzle called “Grill for Good”, where he’ll be manning barbecues at Abbotsford’s Victoria Park alongside local artists Alice Skye, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Amyl & the Sniffers and others. Organisers said that event, which will feature live DJs, sold out in about an hour and has raised some $50,000 in ticket sales, with more fundraising events planned for the day.
ARIA Award-winning band The Teskey Brothers, which organised a sold-out benefit show at the Thornbury Theatre, said it was wonderful to see the city’s artists helping out.
“People are really coming together to help in this awful time for our communities,” the band’s Brendon Love said in a statement.
“We want to do whatever we can to help. Our hearts are with anyone who has been affected by the fires and to all those who have worked tirelessly to assist.”
Earlier in the week, American superstar Lizzo volunteered at Melbourne’s Foodbank to help put together hampers for affected communities, while Sir Elton John announced a $1 million donation at the end of his concert in Sydney. Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban and pop-star Pink have also made $500,000 contributions.
The efforts follow several quickly organised benefit concerts by Falls Festival artists after the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Lorne were cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. G-Flip said her Northcote Social Club show sold out in 20 minutes.
Interstate, Melbourne’s Tim Rogers, of You Am I fame, has offered his support to a bushfire benefit gig in Adelaide, while Regurgitator and Custard headline Sydney Festival’s bushfire relief fundraiser on Saturday. A massive concert has also been scheduled for Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in February, Fire Fight Australia, with the line-up yet to be announced but Queen reported to be mulling an appearance.
Ms Rusciano said it was no surprise the arts community had stepped up. “We’re used to preparing quickly and cheaply if we need to,” the comedian said.
“I’m not surprised at all it’s a comedian who raised the most money,” she said, referring to Celeste Barber, who has raised just shy of $50 million at the time of writing through a Facebook campaign.
Below are just some of the events artists have organised to help raise funds. It’s by no means a definitive list – and no doubt there will be many more announced in coming days and weeks.
Grill for Good, Victoria Park, Abbotsford, January 12 (sold out)
Mac DeMarco and a host of local musos including Laura Jean, Amyl & the Sniffers, Julia Jacklin, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard will be sizzling sausages (vegan ones too) and playing DJ sets (not full band sets). Proceeds to the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities and Wildlife Victoria.
Jordie Lane, Liz Stringer and friends, Northcote Social Club, January 12 and 14
The longtime friends host two benefits to raise money for the RFS, CFA and Wildlife Victoria. An all-ages matinee show at 2pm on Sunday ($26-44) features Clare Reynolds, Jessie Lloyd and Fenn Wilson, while Tuesday’s sold-out show has Clare Reynolds, Jeff Lang, The Maes, Kylie Auldist and Coda Chroma.
Music that Matters, Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, January 14 (sold out)
Performances from Julia Jacklin, Romy Vager (RVG), Jade Imagine, Leah Senior and many more, raising money for the RFS, CFA, WIRES and the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities.
Teskey Brothers Bushfire Fundraiser, Thornbury Theatre, January 16 (sold out)
The band is joined by Cash Savage & the Last Drinks as well as Grace Cummings, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross, Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities and Wildlife Victoria. Fans can also donate to these three charities at the event’s GoFundMe page.
Stand Up for Bushfire Relief, Palais Theatre, January 20 (sold out)
Hannah Gadsby, Wil Anderson, Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy, Tommy Little, Joel Creasey, Cal Wilson, Nick Cody, Rhys Nicholson, Nazeem Hussain, Tom Ballard, Denise Scott, Frank Woodley and more are donating their time and talent to raise money for the state government’s official Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
Rock Against the Fires, Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, January 24
A bevy of bands including Dallas Crane, Batz, Rocket Science and more are donating ticket sales and a percentage of bar sales to the Red Cross and the CFA. There will also be fundraising auctions on the day.
Fires Fundraiser at the Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, January 25 (sold out)
A second fundraiser at the Sydney Road venue sees Mick Thomas, The Orbweavers, Angie Hart, Charles Jenkins, Sime Nugent, Lisa Miller with Shane O’Mara, Ten Gallon Head and many more performing to raise money for the CFA, the Bushfire Disaster Appeal and the Red Cross. Hosted by Jane Clifton.
Fire Bad Comedy Gala, Howler, Brunswick, January 26 (sold out)
More comedians come together in support of the Red Cross’s bushfire efforts, with the bill including Joel Creasey, Becky Lucas, Nazeem Hussain, Claire Hooper, Rhys Nicholson, Damien Power and many more.
Tones & I and friends, 170 Russell, January 28 (sold out)
She stormed the ARIAs last year and is now giving back with a benefit gig, with support from Adrian Eagle and more. Proceeds from ticket sales and merch will go to the Australian Red Cross, RFS and CFA.
Bushfire Benefit at the Tote, Collingwood, January 31 and February 1
Jen Cloher, Romy Vager (RVG), Jess Ribeiro, HTRK, Alice Skye and more perform across two days at the Tote Hotel. Proceeds to the First Nations Fire Relief Fund, Victorian Bushfire Disaster Fund, RFS, Wildlife Victoria, WIRES, SA Country Fire Authority and Tasmanian Fire Authority. Friday show $40-60, Saturday show sold out.
Sundown at McClelland, McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, February 8
Starting in the early afternoon through to sunset, with a lantern-making workshop and parade in the evening plus local food and wine. performers include Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier, Kutcha Edwards, Charlie Owen and more, with proceeds to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund. $15-45, plus food hampers available.
Hannah Francis is Arts Editor at The Age
Broede Carmody is a culture reporter at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald