Backyard Backanalia Goes Nuts

Backyard Backanalia

The above picture is a view of the Backyard Backanalia, taken from ‘The Gallows’, during Earth Hour. We didn’t turn out all the lights as you can see, safety being a factor, but the majority of lighting was extinguished for approximately an hour at approximately 8pm as the crowd, at that stage numbering around 250, was entertained by Andi and George and crew in an acoustic drum jam.

The official door count at the end was 310 but the Ladies (and child) of the Door advise this was an underestimation (it’s difficult to remember to do a tick for every single entry), not to mention that kids weren’t counted, nor band members, nor a motley assortment of freeloaders who have mastered the art of sweet-talking.

Thus by 10pm we were looking at 400+ people jammed into too small a space and we were standing at the garage door making a half-hearted effort to keep the steady trickle of newcomers at bay. Apologies to any who didn’t make it in. Next season we’ll make more of an effort to control how many people turn up, tickets or the like.

Apologies also to anyone who turned up to see Dahahoo. They cancelled at around 5.30pm citing a sick drummer. What can you do? And to Fred Smith who was supposed to play with Pete and Fiete, only the drums and bass amp they’d requested the use of, and that were supposedly secured via one of the other bands on the night, didn’t show up on time? And the cheerleaders? They apparently left a message on my land-line saying they couldn’t make it… And Pablo the Magician? First he said he’d like to do it, then said he was playing at Candelo instead, then changed his mind two days before the show, and turned up, but couldn’t be found at the appointed hour… Again, what can you do? It seems a shame, though, that what was the biggest audience by far of the three years we’ve been operating, an excellent opportunity to showcase excellent Canberra music, was diminished by factors beyond our control.

Despite these, um, unpredictable elements, it seemed as though most people were fairly happy and comfortable and there were no incidents to speak of. The acts that played were all well received and deserving of a set at the best gig in a back yard in a suburb near you. We’re enormously encouraged by the turnout, and by the fact that the neighbours, rather than objecting, seem to be embracing the idea (not a single complaint!).

The Backanalia couldn’t happen without a lot of effort by a lot of people and we’d like to thank all the staff on the night (bar, door, sound), the people who cleaned up most of the mess before we’d even woken up, the washer uppers, the setter uppers, the salad makers, the performers, the people who sit around talking with us about it and helping us design it better, the people who donate stuff like firewood and fairy lights, the lantern makers, Lerida Estate (yummy wines)… there’s many more I’m sure, but the point is the Backanalia is a collective effort and it’s wonderful to be a part of. Thank you.

And thanks to Graeme Sorrelle for turning up, dressed properly this time, from Wagga Wagga for his MC duties. Happy 50th mate.

Also we want to thank the crowd for being a warm and friendly bunch, generous with applause if not necessarily attention, and without sounding too patronising, very well behaved, especially considering the occasionally trying conditions. The flush on the ladies toilet broke at about 8pm, for example, and there was quite a line at times, made worse by the need to fill a bucket from the bathroom. We congratulate the plucky ladies who avoided the line and found relief in various nooks in the front yard.

There was a bit of lost property: three scarves (woolly red and green, cotton black), three gloves (green woolly pair, blue ski single), two beanies (black, orangey), two money purses, one spiky rubber ball, one hair tie (brown). Please contact us and pick them up.

We neglected to run the Canberra Musician’s Club membership drive. We were too busy. It’ll happen soon. And I didn’t take many photos because I lost my camera for most of the night, found at around 11pm. So if anyone has any photos, please send them in. If you could size them to 800 dots wide at 72 dpi, that’d be lovely.

We hope everyone who attended had a great time. We hope those that didn’t attend are kicking themselves. We look forward to a long break but we look forward even more to doing it again next season, better if not bigger. And stay tuned for an irregular season of winter events.



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