A steady stream of world-class local and international musicians have been making their way to Gate A at the Bentley Blockade to help Rock the Gate in support of protectors of the planned test site.
Last night Xavier Rudd and Bobby Alu were the latest in the line of high-profile artists to play at the blockade and, as news spread like wildfire over the internet and social media, 500 people flocked to the site to be serenaded by Xavier. ‘We have to come together right around the country with this fight,’ he said. ‘We have no time to waste. There is so much more people can do and we need to do it now.’
The pair who were also joined by songstress Lisa Hunt and African bassist Tio Moloantoa, sang to the setting sun and added their musical signature of the list of those who would Lock the Gate.
Hundreds of people have been camping in the rain to prevent the industrialisation of the Disputed Plains – a lush food bowl – into a gas field. Metgasco plans to put 1,000 gas wells in the valley, 15km from Lismore.
Both Xavier Rudd and Bobby Alu are fervent supporters of a gasfield-free northern rivers. Xavier has previously played at the Rock the Gate in Lismore, and the now-infamous pop-up concert, Don’s Party at Doubtful Creek.
The Bentley Blockade has played host to a who’s who of the Australian music scene in previous weeks, with spontaneous performances at the gate by Wolfmother, Pete Murray, Ash Grunwald, Kram from Spiderbait, John Butler, Blue King Brown, Nahko and many more.
‘The Australian music scene supports our fight to protect country from this toxic invasion,’ said Rock the Gate’s Nick Hanlon. ‘Bentley is becoming a iconic chapter of the Australian protest movement and a groundbreaking moment in the music industry as musicians are coming out in numbers to support the cause.’
‘The tide is turning in this movement to stop unconventional gas mining ruining rural Australia,’ said Rock the Gate’s Amanda Shoebridge. ‘Through the music industry’s support we have infiltrated the mainstream media, which have previously been a little reluctant to champion the cause.’
Last week in Texas the first successful compensation claim was awarded to a family that has suffered serious health impacts from a gas well near their home. The first family to be compensated in the US was awarded nearly $3 million in compensation for health issues suffered. Ms Shoebridge says this sets an important precedent for the unconventional gas mining industry in Australia.
‘Xavier’s being here helps keeps everyone’s spirits high,’ said long-term Bentley Blockade protector Dean Draper. ‘So get out here and join the movement for clean air, clean land and clean water.’