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Queenslanders go beyond to the Black Stump

Brisbane band Scat were a hit at Black Stump

Queensland bands stole the show at the Black Stump Christian music and arts festival held on the NSW Labour Day holiday. Held at Cataract Park, 90 minutes south of Sydney, about 5000 young people gathered together to experience four days of Australia’s best Christian music, arts and teaching. This year Queensland bands led the entertainment front.

Brisbane rockers Another Day Down wowed the audience playing at their first Black Stump Festival. Guitarist for the band, Phil said, “It was really relaxed and at first we were surprised by just how relaxed it was, but we figured that that’s one of the essential ingredients of the festival.

Playing at a packed out tent the boys commented, “Our show was a lot of fun and we were really encouraged and blessed by the amount of people who came to see us play. It was definitely a high note to end our [tour].” Phil insisted that the band will definitely apply to play at the next Stump.

Queensland jazz bands Scat were also experiencing their first taste at Stump. Leader Craig Burnett said, “After the initial culture adjustments we really dug the vibe, Stump is culturally diverse and experimental, with broad expressions of faith, worship and service and a good dose of whack!”

Facing a drama when the drummer developed acute appendicitis, Scat was helped by the open and supportive community and became quickly became a crowd favourite.  Craig said, “The crowds dug our shows and we’re keen to return next year with a bigger crew from Queensland to tune in to the sound of Stump.”

Cairns indie band Sleeping with trains had a massive impact on the crowds and musicians alike at Stump on their first southern tour.

The bands music is characterized by ambient soundscapes and moments of raw intensity, Sleeping in trains incorporate a variety of sounds from both traditional and electronic instruments. Personal favourites of headline act Antiskeptic, the festival was abuzz about the North Queensland band.

Mark, from the band said Black Stump Festival was the most fun the group had had all year. “We loved the trip down, the people we met and the bands we saw. Black Stump was awesome but it’s a long way to travel from Cairns,” he said.

Sadly, for many, repeat performers Rhubarb, from Brisbane, chose to end their performing days at Black Stump 2006, after three hit albums. The band, whose fame began with a hit in 1999 and had performed concerts at the Big Day Out and Falls Festival, played to their final crowd who sang along to all their songs.

Gold Coast fashion designer Grant, 25, said he was pleasantly surprised by the variety in the fashions at Black Stump. Grant said for girls, “There was a bit of the usual, high waist belted summer dresses.” While the boys were mainly wearing “Black t-shirts with ‘hardcore’ combos. “Appearing on both were lots of band shirts, and plenty of the obviously Christian t-shirts, and skinny jeans.”

But it wasn’t just Queensland musicians having a crack at Black Stump. The Gold Coast funny man Dean Barker had the crowd in stiches two nights in a row.

Dean said he saw the opportunity to perform stand up comedy at Black Stump amongst other Christians as a real treat from God. “Even though it isn’t the usual worldly mission field most Christian artists are used to, it is just such a breath of fresh air. At his first Black Stump festival as an artist, Dean rated Black Stump as the best Christian festival in Australia.

He said, “It’s not just music, but just about every type of arts you can think of.” He pointed out that, at Black Stump, the fun is less about the performances you see, and more about the people you meet and the good times you have.

“Sean from Antiskeptic hit the nail on the head when he said "It’s great to be able to come here as a Christian artist and do your thing amongst people who get it!  The things that set the festival apart are that the festival site is very secluded from any civilisation, the festival has a strong focus on a wide range of teaching, and it falls on a public holiday, allowing more people to come”

Dean says he will definitely be making the pilgrimage to Black Stump again in 2006, even if he has to go through Sydney.

“Can you believe they’re still talking about the Olympics?

Photo : Brisbane band Scat were a hit at Black Stump