Fire Aid raises more than $650,000 for bushfire relief
Fremantle’s two Fire Aid benefit concerts have raised more than $650,000 for fire services, local communities and wildlife protection following the devastating bushfires around Australia.
The first Fire Aid concert was held at Fremantle Arts Centre on 31 January featuring John Butler, The Waifs, San Cisco and Stella Donnelly. When the first show sold out in less than an hour a second show was added for 1 February, with Carla Geneve stepping in for Stella Donnelly.
The concept for Fire Aid originated from the bands and their manager Phil Stevens, who said it was a direct reaction to the horrendous images of the fires and stories of people’s loss.
“It sowed the seed for taking action immediately,” Mr Stevens said.
“They were all super keen to offer some help towards the fundraising efforts for the people in need over east. It was also the first time these Fremantle bands were able to come together and share the same stage.
“It was a very emotional time for Dave and Josh from The Waifs because their homes in Moruya and Cobargo had to be evacuated.
“You can imagine the stress they were going through. However they knew that playing these concerts was the most effective way for them to make a difference.”
Mr Stevens said the event was announced within 72 hours of conception.
“The speed of how it came together and the wonderful willingness of all involved was amazing. People gave up their time and skills so generously,” he said.
“We had not expected a second concert, but the huge demand made us have to react very quickly.”
Fremantle Arts Centre Director Jim Cathcart said the sold out shows were an uplifting experience.
“These acclaimed musicians all have a strong association with Fremantle, and it was great to see the WA public coming together out of a passionate concern for the people, animals and bushland affected by these devastating fires,” Mr Cathcart said.
“I’m just really pleased Fremantle Arts Centre was able to support the artists in putting together two incredible shows and to raise so much money for people who really need it.”
All proceed from ticket sales will be donated to a number of causes including local New South Wales and Victorian fire services, the Wildlife Victoria Fund, and local communities such as Cobargo and Moruya where David and Josh from The Waifs live.
As well as giving their time to perform, the artists also donated merchandise on the night along with Fire Fund t-shirts and tea towels.
Other money raised will go to the Freo Fire Fund, which will direct the money raised to a number of different organisations involved in the bushfire relief effort including Australian Red Cross, Foodbank and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.
The Fremantle Arts Centre provided free venue hire as well as Fremantle Council donating $10,000 to the Freo Fire Fund.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was great to see the concerts bring together the Fremantle community.
“The fires have caused so much destruction right across the country, but the response from the community has been quite extraordinary,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“A fundraiser event like this could perhaps only happen in Fremantle, where you have amazing local musicians and promoters working so closer together, the stunning Fremantle Arts Centre ready to assist and, of course, an amazing community who totally got behind it and sold out two huge concerts.
“I was so impressed it was pulled off with such speed and generosity.
“The City would like to acknowledge and thank the number of local people and businesses that so quickly and generously got on board to make Fire Aid possible.”
Image: From Left to Right Jim Cathcart, Philip Stevens, Vikki Thorn, Mayor Brad Pettitt, John Butler, Stella Donnelly and Bob Gordon. Photo by Jarrad Seng.