Story & photos Eve Jeffery
A small convoy of musicians and photographers met at the Kyogle turnoff at 7am on Saturday to travel the last few kilometres together to Doubtful Creek for the Pop Up Rock the Gate concert at ‘Uncle’ Don Knight’s farm.
Under the shadow of the possibility of being stopped by police at the blockade, the mood was sombre but tingling with anticipation at the prospect of the day ahead. As it turned out there was nothing to bar the way and the group moved ahead to join others who had camped the night on farmer Don Knight’s property.
The Pop Up Rock the Gate got underway and Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd joined forces on the battlefield of the fight against coal-seam gas mining in the northern rivers to headline the event, which had a direct view of the CSG work on the opposite hill.
Many musicians feel that it is important that people with a profile add weight to causes where their presence can draw attention to issues.
The lineup on the day apart from Ash and Xavier were anti-CSG stalwart Luke Vassella and most of the cast of the Songs of the Haight Ashbury Show including Lil’ Fi, Diana Anaid, Andrea Soler and Connor Cleary. The MC for the day was S Sorrensen who kept the music moving apace.
This is a cause that musicians Xavier Rudd and Ash Grunwald are clearly passionate about – Xavier Rudd having performed at the inaugural Rock the Gate Rally, which attracted more than 7,000 people who took to the streets of Lismore, and both Ash and Xavier look to a clean future as fathers who want the best possible planet for their kids to grow up on.
‘It’s an honour and a duty for me to be involved’, said Grunwald before he went on stage. ‘I plan to up my support in the future.’
Ash hopes to help get the message out there using his music as a drawcard to alert people to the dangers of this type of mining. ‘CSG is the most important issue of our lives. The northern rivers could be irreparably fucked over,’ he said. ‘If they get really close to home I’ll be looking to get some grenades on the black market and blow the shit up!’