Like a scene from a spy movie, seven cars pulled up at a guarded gate on Saturday afternoon, but instead of black suited secret agents, some of the north coast’s highest profile musos stepped out to surprise and support protectors at the Bentley Blockade which has now had people locked-on for six weeks.
Nick Hanlon and Amanda Shoebridge from Aussies Against Fracking organised the northern rivers super group that included Ash Grunwald, Kram from Spiderbait, Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale, Scott Owen from The Living End, Pete Murray and free surfer and percussionist Dave Rastovich, to perform a spontaneous gig for the Bentley protectors, some of whom haven’t left the site since the vigil began almost three months ago.
‘The visit promoted the lively cultural centre at the Bentley blockade and camp’, said Ms Hanlon. ‘It was also intended to counter claims made by gas mining company Metgasco’s CEO, Peter Henderson, that only hard-line professional activists are present at the blockade site.’
The musicians were visibly moved by the people at Bentley and the determination of the protectors. They were generous with their time and energy, playing for an hour then staying around for photos and autographs.
Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale electrified the crowd before picking up his guitar with his message of support. ‘Nobody here is here for money’, he said. ‘Keep fighting. I take my hat off to you.’
Ms Hanlon says that entertainers from around the country and the world are starting to visit Bentley. ‘This is where the future of unconventional gas extraction in Australia may well be decided’, she said.
‘The general consensus is that if it cannot be stopped in Bentley, it cannot be stopped anywhere. More than half of the landmass of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences or applications.
‘As well as contributing to the protection of the area’s land and water, protectors may at any time be entertained by visiting performers’, she said with a hint of further pop-up appearances.
‘The protectors have vowed to stay as long as it takes to safeguard this valuable agricultural land from a toxic legacy – an unnecessary legacy when there are renewable energy alternatives available.’
~ Photos The Tree Faerie