10 October 2023

More than music as Clearly Fest brings happiness and wellbeing into focus at Kiama

| Katrina Condie
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Peter Garrett

Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett will mentor emerging musicians during the Clearer Workshop. Photo: Clearly Festival.

Sitting alongside the Clearly Music, Art & Wellness Festival’s live music offering, a full-day Clearer Workshop has been designed to foster pathways to success for emerging artists, with industry mentors to include Peter Garrett AM.

The Midnight Oil frontman, environmental and social activist, and former politician is among 30 speakers and mentors who will share their invaluable industry knowledge and artist development advice with up-and-coming musicians, performers, songwriters, rappers, producers and DJs at the conference at the Kiama Pavilion on Friday, 10 November.

The collaborative learning experience will also feature Michael Chugg AM from Frontier/Chugg Music, Triple J’s Ash McGregor and local Aboriginal elder Aunty Gwen, and is a lead-in to the inaugural Clearly music event to be held at the Kiama Showground the following day, Saturday, 11 November.

Festival co-founder Barron Hanson said the wellness event would include a keynote talk focused on mental health in the music industry by The Baseline Happiness Project and discussions with a mental health and resilience panel. There will also be presentations by agents and music media representatives, and professional advice about marketing, logo design and biography writing.

“Our vision extends beyond delivering exceptional music and art to the region. We are committed to fostering wellness in every aspect of our organisation,” Barron said.

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“Taking a holistic approach, we prioritise the wellbeing of our team, artists, and attendees.

“As part of our dedication to mental health within the music industry, we have partnered with an initiative called The Baseline Happiness Project. Together, we strive to enhance the mental wellbeing of all those involved.

“In addition, we have collaborated with Be Here Nowra to provide meditation courses for our team, artists, and attendees. By incorporating mindfulness practices, we aim to nurture inner balance and tranquillity.”

To create a sanctuary for wellness, there will also be a dedicated “wellness hub” within the music festival grounds.

“Attendees can avail themselves of free booths staffed by experienced wellness practitioners,” Barron said.

“The inclusive space will cater to diverse wellness needs and promote a harmonious festival experience for everyone.”

He said the festival’s commitment to wellness “goes beyond the music and art, as we actively seek to cultivate a vibrant, balanced, and flourishing community”.

As well as live music and a DJ disco, Saturday festival-goers of all ages can enjoy art exhibitions, market stalls, amusement rides and wellness activities overlooking the ocean, with creative talent from across the country and the Illawarra region.

Headlining the music event are singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd, ARIA-nominated surf and garage rock trio Skeggs, and critically acclaimed singer-songwriters Ruby Fields and Gretta Ray.

Illawarra’s own Big Twisty & The Funknasty will bring their signature brand of frenzied funk to the loaded line-up, with bandleader Dom Littrich moonlighting as the main-stage host. Also on the local front is ARIA Gold-awarded artist Tyne-James Organ, who’ll bring his evocative songwriting and spellbinding sonics to the stage alongside the dreamy pop prowess of multi-instrumentalist Stevan.

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Completing the live component of the annual festival are the kaleidoscopic pop-rock sounds of Queensland’s Hope D, the raucous rock’n’roll stylings of Sydney’s Gully Days, the awe-inspiring musicality of ARIA-nominated artist Emily Wurramara, the country twang of Double Barrel and the rock’n’soul sonics of The Polymics, supported by a plethora of up-and-coming local DJs including Groove Society.

Festival co-founder Dom Furber said he had always dreamed of delivering a festival of this scale locally since throwing his first event in Sydney Harbour in 2010.

“I was born in the area, and attended primary school in Gerringong and high school in Kiama, so have close ties to the local community,” he said.

“Clearly Music, Arts & Wellness Festival and the Clearer Workshop will provide a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talents and connect with audiences from all over.

“We can’t wait to see the positive impact this festival will have on the community this year and in the years to come.”

The Clearly Music, Arts & Wellness Festival welcomes applications from emerging artists here.

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