10 May 2024

Community, environment or great local music: Flame Tree Co-op's benefit concert supports it all

| Dione David
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Musicians stand with their instruments at Flame Tree Co-op

A line-up of five musicians and bands will perform in a benefit concert for Thirroul’s Flame Tree Co-op. Photo: Flame Tree Co-op.

There could be no more fitting a venue than Coledale RSL for Thirroul’s Flame Tree Co-op to hold a benefit concert this weekend, which organisers say is a celebration of community and the businesses that form part of Wollongong’s northern suburbs’ social fabric.

Flame Tree volunteer and event organiser Rick Warr said the event would turn the spotlight on the role of the area’s community-led businesses and celebrate everything that came with that.

“We’re a community of people determined to provide an alternative to big supermarkets. We want to celebrate that, but it’s a three-fold celebration, because it’s also a toast to local community itself, and to volunteerism, all of which makes businesses like Flame Tree Co-op possible,” he said.

“It’s also just going to be a fantastic show the whole family can enjoy.”

READ ALSO ‘This is a community project now’: Coledale RSL Club’s volunteer base swells

Five great local acts – all of which share Flame Tree Co-op’s passion for the planet – will perform at the family-friendly event and raise funds for the community-owned grocer and wholefoods store.

Among them will be Stanwell Park local Luke O’Neill from groove-based band Murmur, whose family has been involved in the Flame Tree Food Co-op since it opened in 2010.

“I’ve even picked up veggies from Southern Highlands farms on my way home from work in Bowral,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to sharing some music and celebrating this great community co-operative that’s 15 years strong. My family and I support the co-op as we feel this is one way we can say ‘no’ to the exploitation of farmers by the big supermarkets.”

Joining Murmer will be Love in the Jungle, a contemporary acoustic folk-rock fusion, boosted with a twist of bluesy brass, world percussion and authentic Aussie Indigenous sounds.

For Love in the Jungle drummer and local market gardener Ben Anderson, the cause is personal for more than one reason.

“As a local producer I know how important the co-op is for retail distribution for local growers,” he said. “I’m excited to be getting together and celebrating the direct relationship between growers and consumers that the co-op fosters.”

READ ALSO Rosso Pepe kitchen takeover brings slice of heaven to Coledale RSL

These wonderful bands will be joined by keyboardist, vocalist and “human jukebox” Jenna Hogan, three-piece Coalcliff rock band The Shed and laid-back jazz guitarist Rob Fakes from Gorgon Soldiers in a solo act.

Drinks and snacks will be available from the bar, and Rosso Pepe will be serving up delicious pizzas. A keg of Hawks Beer will be on tap, donated by the Sydney-based, independent and Australian-owned beer company that funds biodiversity and farm regeneration projects through Landcare Australia. Coledale RSL will donate the venue.

Just over a year since the volunteers rallied to revive this community treasure, it’s a fitting homage to the power of community spirit.

The family-friendly benefit concert and celebration will be held at Coledale RSL on Saturday 11 May from noon to 5 pm. Tickets cost $20 for adults (half price for Flame Tree Co-op volunteers) – payable at the door.

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