Sixty thousand people attended the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival in Stanthorpe and what an amazing opportunity it was for Us the Band to have participated in such a huge event. What’s even more exciting is that due to their knock out performance, they have been invited to perform at the next Festival in 2020 and also at Snowflakes in Stanthorpe in July 2019.
The excitement levels were at fever pitch as they set off on their very first road trip. Tunes were played throughout the tour bus and the first three hours of the trip were like a karaoke party on wheels. At one point it was suggested by someone that they should rest their voices or no-one would be able to sing at the gig. That lasted about five minutes before everyone was partying and singing again.
Visions of Marina Mirage style accommodation were soon shattered as they arrived at the Scout Hall to set up their camp beds for the night. Life on the road is not all glitz and glamour as they quickly found out. Many were awakened to the little pitter patter of feet scuttling through the darkness to find a phone charger, the many giggles, snores and other various strange noises that lasted well into the night. Little sleep was had but this did not curb the excitement on the morning of their big performance.
Many hands and team work made for a scrumptious breakfast that provided everyone with a well-deserved energy boost for their 10 am gig. Band members and roadies proudly donned their Us the band t-shirts and made their way to the Festival site where they were greeted by festival volunteers who happily helped them move all the equipment onto the stage for a sound check.
Being the first act of the day the main crowd hadn’t arrived yet but as they rocked it out the crowd soon came. What a thrill for the band members to have such a large crowd dancing and singing along, especially the screaming waving girls!
During their electrifying set, every band member shone and had the opportunity to wow the crowd with a solo performance. Band Manager, Jannah Goodman-Jones said “it was the performance above all performances.”
So much so that support staff from another disability organisation made a point of commenting on how wonderful and inclusive Lifebridge are and how they hoped their organisation would be as open minded and inclusive as we are.
After their performance the band mingled with the crowd, had photos taken with their new-found fans, joined in an Irish jig and met the other musicians. Keyboard player, Patrick was thrilled to meet two media networks and was interviewed by channel 7 with his thoughts on the festival.
The road trip home was a little more subdued with everyone reminiscing about the funny moments of their time away. Someone, who ironically happens to be blonde, conducting a vehicle check and looking for the brake lights at the front of the vehicle, lyrics being confused such as “lock up your donuts” instead of “lock up your daughters, “Fat feet on the ground” instead of “Flat feet on the ground” to name a few.
From humble beginnings come great things certainly rings true when it comes to the story behind Us the Band.
The Band were originally formed in 2006 through the vision and hard work of support worker Vaughan Richards, whose main purpose was to bring people together through the power of music. Sadly, Vaughan is no longer able to play with the band due to health issues but his vision remains with each and every one of the band members today. Us the Band’s motto is it’s not about YOU and ME, it’s about US. Celebrating teamwork, friendship and inclusion they incorporated these values into their original signature song, simply called “Lifebridge”.
All the photos and a full recording of the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival gig are available on CD, please contact us on 1800 043 186 for further details.