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Music, Food & Movies By The Sea – Rachel Rachel & East Journey Cook Up A Treat At The BBQ Sessions

Words by Steve Kelk | Pics by Paz Tassone

2020 might be a year that we would all like to forget, but parts of it are certainly memorable and for the right reasons.

Foldback Media NT put on the second of their sold-out live music and comedy BBQ Sessions last weekend at the Deckchair Cinema, as part of the Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF). Armed with a grant from the Northern Territory Government and assistance from a heap of sponsors, the BBQ Sessions have been a roaring comeback success for the NT live music industry and entertainment in general following the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

Under the stoney face of the imposing NT Parliament House on one side and the picturesque Darwin Harbour on the other, the Deckchair Cinema proved once again to be the perfect outdoor live entertainment venue. It was also the perfect backdrop for the filming of the event for future broadcast on Channel NT and Foldback platforms, one of the primary objectives of the BBQ Sessions grant.

With Dreamedia providing  support and experienced crew to capture the event, and with Gigtek working their audio magic under an earlier weather threat, the live music flowed through the hot afternoon into early evening, a perfect segue for the Darwin International Film Festival movie later in the evening. Fortunately the heavens did not open up over Jervois Park.

Local singer-songwriter Rachel Rachel and her percussionist Tor Trethowan commenced proceedings in the afternoon sun with a slew of originals for the rapidly growing audience. Both seasoned professionals and fresh from supporting Jimmy Barnes at the Darwin Ski Club the previous day, the duo produced a polished set for attendees and were, as always, very well received.

Of course, it wasn’t all live music and movies. The sizzling sounds and enticing aromas of the Foldback BBQ (thank you De La Plage, Eva Valley Meats, Organic AG and our volunteer cooks) wafted across the venue and hungry punters soon formed a queue for some terrific fare.

But what would BBQ Sessions be without our beaut BBQ-ing MCs Danielle Andrews & Amy Hetherington to keep the event glued together with witty one-liners, boundless banter and in-depth interviews of artists, Foldback management and celebrities visiting for the Darwin International Film festival. Many thanks to these two lovely, talented ladies for their time and effort over the two BBQ Sessions on back-to-back weekends!

Ultimately, the Foldback BBQ Sessions was all about the music – a celebration of Foldback’s support and promotion of live local original music in the Northern Territory. The grants Foldback received from the Northern Territory Government to put on and film the BBQ Sessions (including a substantial grant from the NTG Community Benefit Fund to purchase much-needed equipment) has gone a long way towards not only directly providing work and turnover to local artists, production crews and venues, but also towards restoring confidence in an industry decimated by COVID-19 restrictions for many months.

It was so humbling to see both shows sold-out (in tandem with the DIFF screenings) and quite frankly it was a bloody good idea and a great opportunity to produce an event that merged live performance filming, music, movies, food and comedy under the one umbrella. The BBQ sessions created a working relationship between disparate groups of professionals and technicians that we feel will likely have legs into creative collaborations in 2021 and beyond. The Deckchair Cinema proved to be the perfect venue for these events and we very much thank the board, staff and volunteers of both the cinema and the festival.

“Every single crew member (who were predominately volunteers) and all the sponsors involved played a very important role in this project, especially Gaia Osborne and Josephine Shearn. It was an amazing experience and a great team effort to bring the community together and collaborate with local businesses and use local produce. Thank you to all the artists who performed for the BBQ Sessions and East Journey who traveled from Yirrkala. There were 3 BBQ Sessions, two in Darwin and one Yirrkala collaborating with Aris & Grimes to produce the Yirrakala one. All the videos are now in post production and will be streamed at a later date on the Channel NT and Foldback platforms. Keep an eye out.”

– Director Jean-Eddy Moutou

Now to the music.

After Rachel Rachel and Tor Trethowan’s sublime opening, the setting sun brought on the much anticipated First Nations band East Journey from North East Arnhem Land. Rock and reggae reverberated round the high cliffs surrounding the cinema, the band’s sound massaged perfectly by the GigTek sound crew led by the experienced Daniel Lade. Whether they were there mostly for the movie or mostly for the music or both, it didn’t matter – East Journey has a habit of getting people off their seats and moving their feet and they bought it in buckets this night, with a romping set polished off with a very fine take on Yothu Yindi’s ‘Treaty’ as an encore. East Journey knows their crowd and they read the room right on the night.

A quick word on the films on show during the Darwin International Film Festival while the BBQ Sessions were on – during BBQ Sessions Part 1, festival-goers were treated to the enthralling thriller ‘Mystery Road’ starring Aaron Pedersen. For the second round of BBQ Sessions, the crowd got a special treat with Steven McGregor’s documentary take on Captain James Cook’s place in Australian history through Indigenous eyes with ‘Looky Looky Here comes Cooky’  presented by Steven Oliver – the special treat on top of that was that Steven Oliver was at the festival in person to introduce the movie, mingle and play up for our cameras – a very special thank you to Steven!

The night could not have gone ahead without the support of our incredible Sponsors: Dreamedia, Gigtek, NOOK Backline, De La Plage, Eva Valley Meats, Organic AG, Zip Print, All Night Lights and Markus Dixon (for the graphics) – and of course thanks once again to the Northern Territory Government via an Arts NT Virtual Territory grant which aims to showcase the incredible talent that exists in the NT, to support innovative and sustainable digital platforms and to provide employment for NT artists and art workers. Foldback sincerely thanks the Northern Territory Government for supporting Foldback and the NT arts sector, particularly during this challenging year, through the Creative Industries Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Program.

2020 – perhaps not so forgettable after all! Foldback Media NT – supporting local live original music in the Territory since 2014. Keep an eye out for our next foray – Regional Roots at the Darwin Railway Club on October 17.

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