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This upcoming May Day long weekend, in the sleepy Somerset countryside northwest of Brisbane, locals and visitors alike will enjoy waking to the sentimental sounds of classic rock reverberating through eucalyptus trees.
A debut festival unlike any other in the region, Jimna Rocks — founded and curated by Karen Andrews of MMK Music Promotions — is a showcase of 22 musical acts from southeast QLD, so talented and timeless in sound you’ll never again believe “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
Jimna Rocks will be held at tranquil Jimna Base Camp — just off the Kilcoy Highway, 1.5hrs from Brisbane and inland from the Sunshine Coast — surrounded by lush Australian bushland and national parks. The event boasts camping facilities and is family-friendly, so you’ve no excuse not to bring everybody from the kids all the way up to your grandma.
In this historical time of creeping out from the tail-end of a pandemic, assessing collateral damage done to the arts and cultural expression, this is an opportunity for our community to support budding and esteemed musicians alike at a brand-new, grassroots event giving them a much-needed platform to be heard again.
This platform is brought to you, in generous part, by Mix Maniac Sound and Lighting, who’ll supply the high-quality sound you’ll hear over the weekend. Production crews are the silent, diligent workers behind the bands tirelessly lending their expertise, and are among those badly hit by the pandemic.
Instead of more media charades depicting panic and all things covid-related — wouldn’t you rather hear the hiss of a snare drum and twang of a guitar string, the fuzzy static of amplifiers and soulful growls of true-blue singer-songwriters, genres ranging from indie to pop, garage rock to R&B, and everything in between?
Wouldn’t you like to be part of a community that ushers in the youngest generation of rock ‘n’ roll superstars with killer chemistry and a whole load of heart, determined to keep calm and create amidst uncertainty, relishing the privilege of performing live music while the world is in lockdown?
Wouldn’t you like to lay back on the grass as the sun goes down, sinking back cold ones in the company of your nearest and dearest, while fair-dinkum artists serve up an audial feasting platter of classic rock and blues worthy of anything coming out of Wembley Stadium?
The truly delightful fact is: that internal exhale, curling smile, and pull of your heart towards this mental image is what can help save a struggling music industry.
The pandemic has brought about intense limiting and outright closure of many live venues and events, and artists are barely cauterising their losses. Your support towards covid-safe events like Jimna Rocks, and the tireless efforts of crew and creative talent that contribute to them, is like slowly building an ark for our arts and cultural sector to climb aboard.
Unlike Noah’s variety, our ark will feature a more melodic menagerie of soloists, duos, all the way up to seven-piece bands from all around southeast QLD.
Leading the pack are our two headliners; starting with The Urban Sea, who quote bands like The Kooks, The Heavy, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers as some of their biggest musical influences. They’re a honey-smooth blend of rock and R&B, with six sets of hands weaving a rich audial tapestry consisting of wistful lead guitar, drums and bass,
soulful sax, flute, keys, and more.
Other Saturday acts include Willie Du Fré, Saint Skirts, Alex Kosenko, 3 Hour Flight, Deaf Poet Society, Ravindra, Ella Vice, Krave, Winchester Revival, and Goldie Horn.
Closing the festival Sunday night are The Wayward Suns, a seven-piece extravaganza from the Gold Coast; a musical piñata bursting with tasty bites of genre-fusion you can’t quite put your finger on. They’re funky, groovy, gravelly, and chock-full of soul, smashing reggae with rock with rap and buffing it all over with blues and a hint of brass. They’re
Matchbox 20 crossed with Hilltop Hoods crossed with Cat Empire and more; bombastic, fantastic, and infused with love.
Other Sunday acts include Rhys Lee, Beats N Peaces, SHORES, Dreams of Indigo, Stoker, Passion Cactus, Muddy N Petal Band, Stapylton Street, Mantis Empire, and Sinkin’ Schooners.
Other info you’ve gotta know: the event is BYO, and nearest conveniences are 35km away in Kilcoy. The Community clubhouse on the festival grounds will be open for a cold beer from 5pm-10pm Saturday and Sunday. There are limited tickets available to
camp onsite at Jimna Base Camp, capped at 500; day passes do not include camping.
Day pass holders can book camping at a range of other nearby sites, including Peach Tree National Park, 4km from the festival. Book here: www.nprsr.qld.gov.au.
Gates open from 8am Saturday morning, May 1st; music commences at midday and concludes 11pm. Wake to the tranquil song of the bush on Sunday, May 2nd, and enjoy a hot breakfast and coffee before settling back into the flow of live music from midday until 11pm. The Jimna community will host a two-day market onsite from 9am-2pm; on
top of that, there will be a variety of delectable sweet and savoury food vendors to titillate all manner of taste buds, a holy river of coffee, and even a campfire to warm you up after sinking back all those cold ones.
With covid stripping away much of life as we knew it, and social restrictions distilling our entertainment down to virtual data streams, it can seem intimidating (even downright dangerous) to venture out of our painstakingly curated comfort bubbles and into the
outside world; to take a punt on something bold and new.
Yet — in Andrews’ words — “you can’t download a live experience.” Festivals, and other celebrations of collective human emotion, instil goosebump-inducing sensations of joy, connection, meaning, and peace no device can entirely simulate. They are a direct
portal for creativity to emerge and flourish; a tangible affirmation of something greater than us.
That’s what Jimna Rocks is offering.
Live music under a canopy of stars. Nostalgia for sounds of musical decades past joyously preserved in the present moment. Dancing for probably your first time in months. Cold brews in front of a hot fire. Immersion of our minds and bodies in this country’s inimitable outback. Family, neighbours, and new friends sharing pizzas and picnic blankets. Copious laughter and licks of a guitar. A festivity of all five senses
scarcely any places in the world right now can replicate.
If that ain’t worth digging your old band shirts out of storage and lacing up your dancing boots, then I don’t know what is.