We got to speak with Eve and Rachael, the creators of Bush Music Festival, an emerging DIY music shindig set in the rolling hills of Poowong East, Gippsland.
Can you tell us your name, age and a little bit about yourselves?
Rachael: “My name is Rachael, I am 24 and I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life. I really like the Melbourne music scene, I volunteer at a lot of community radio stations, and I like to have little projects such as Bush”.
Eve: “Yes we are basically the same….no we're not. I am Eve and I'm 21. I'm a student and I also like music. I used to play but I was bad at it so now I just listen to it and am a secret fan”.
Rachael: “Those who can’t do provide opportunities for those who can”.
So how did Bush Music Fest all begin?
Eve: “Bush began as a list of bands from Melbourne that Rachael and I both really liked. They were mostly gender diverse bands that we thought probably could have more recognition than they already did, rather than being token bands at events. I guess that was the beginning of it, but then again having a music festival that’s tied down to one thing can be kinda boring, so we’re not playing the gender card, we’re just putting on bands that we like”.
Rachael: “Yeah I suppose we both have a lot of friends who are involved in the Melbourne music scene and we also had a property on which we could hold Bush. It was all very opportunistic really, we had the connections and we had the place. We were probably a bit recklessly optimistic about how much planning it would take and how unprepared we were, but it kinda came down to the fact that we were probably one of the few people who could do it. We had the friends, had the volunteers, had the money (kind of) had the property, and had the means to do it, so we thought why not?
What can we expect from this year’s extravaganza?
Eve: “You can expect 25+ fun musical acts from the Melbourne music scene, including DJ’s, lots of ladies and gender diverse people on stage, hopefully catering, some beer, and some lights”.
Rachael: “You can expect good times, great vibes, classic hits, maybe a few mistakes, it is our first time after all”.
What sort of music/lineup have you put together?
Eve: “There’s quite a diverse range of bands but they all fit into the punky kind of scene in Melbourne. 'Rosé rock' was one of the descriptors”.
Rachael: “‘Rosé Rock’ was a description coined by Porpoise Spit, a band we didn’t actually ask or get. They said that instead of ‘pub rock’ or ‘dad rock’, which are terms that come up a lot, it was ‘mum rock’ or ‘rosé rock’ which I like!”
Eve: “They are NOT playing, unfortunately”.
Rachael: “Great band, very great, hopefully next year, please love us”.
What are you hoping to learn from this amazing experience?
Eve: “How to run a music festival. How to do it properly because this year it’s a bit DIY, which is fine, but not really viable because we can’t pay bands, we can’t pay staff, so actually getting some money together and doing it properly would be nice”.
Rachael: “Yeah this isn’t something we have learnt, but something I’ve complained about a lot, which is ethical consumption (spoken in unison) under capitalism”.
Rachael: “People always say there are ways to get money and i’m hoping to learn those ways, but my dream would be to put on a music festival, pay all the volunteers for their time, or at least in some form of meaningful renumeration”.
Eve: “To be able to pay people and not lose money, just break even, not even make a profit”.
Rachael: “The whole festival this year is going to be entirely reliant on the kindness of strangers and their friends, which is great. It’s a really beautiful thing to be able to do a grass roots event, a pure collective. It’s pretty amazing and we are very lucky to have had that this year, but we don’t want to keep asking the same people for more and more favours, so we want to be able to do it properly”.
Eve: “This has come up recently, which is shocking, where professional bands are not being paid for their time. It’s an annoying thing to ask, and I guess we’re trying to do a good thing, we’re obviously not making any money off it, but being able to pay bands would be ideal”.
Rachael: "Well it’s actually something I feel quite conflicted about. This year we are asking bands to play without paying them and that is something I mentally disagree with on a moral level. Bush is truly just supporting the kids (me at 24 I am the kids) and then hopefully they’re investing in something that will be amazing and that will ultimately give back to the scene”.
Eve: “At least for me, part of it was that we wanted to support young women and gender diverse people in music who often don’t have the same opportunities that men do, so if we can establish something and create a platform for younger artists, then that would be really nice”.
Rachael: "If one day I can provide a platform where we can pay small acts, particularly female acts, meaningfully and properly, that would be ideal, that would be the dream. And that is what we are working towards, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to do that this year”.
Eve: “In light of the Camp Cope call out of the major music festivals, its not easy to put on even a small event, the logistics are ridiculous and being able to do what we have done is pretty impossible”.
Rachael: “The back ground of that story, for those who don’t know, is that Camp Cope called out Falls Festival for not having enough women and gender diverse bands. They said 'well if you don’t like it, put on your own festival’. I kind of chuckled to myself because that was exactly what I was doing, but as I said before, the only reason we’ve been able to do it is because we have the location, the infrastructure, the friends, and we’re in the right scene. There are a thousand reasons why we have been able to do this, I don’t think anyone else would be able to just go forward and do it, which makes what Falls Festival said really offensive to me personally, as someone who has everything going for them and is still killing themselves to be able to make Bush happen”.
Bush Music Festival is happening in T-minus 5 days, from the 23rd to 25th of February.
Want a ticket? That's nice of you, click this link to do the thing.
You can also find out more about Bush and the bands that are playing at their facebook page.
Illustration by Lucinda Houghton.
Images provided by Bush Music Festival.
Extra thanks to Mali Rea.