July 24th 2011
A huge day and night on Magnetic
Last night Magnetic Island Musos Club held what many have described as its greatest gig ever and, fittingly, the occasion was its tenth anniversary concert. The big gig which saw between 400 and 500 locals and visitors dancing to a dozen local acts followed the official opening of the Solar Cities Skate Park by Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Hon Mark Dreyfus.
Ergon and the Solar Cities consortium deserve every congratulation for their astonishing $1.7 million contribution to the Magnetic Island community in the form of a solar farm built to provide shade for Island kids at the skate park plus a superb new community stage roof and more.
Mark Dreyfus told Magnetic Times, “I’ve been aware of this project for a long time and I wasn’t going to miss the opening for anything.”
The Hon Mark Dreyfus with TCC Councillor Vern Veitch
Up to 22 Island houses could now be powered by the 100kW solar voltaic system mounted above the park.
Ian Cruickshank, Solar Cities Manager said the eye catching designs were lazer cut into the steel supports around the park were created by thirteen different local artists following a competitive expresion of interest process with the local community –the youngest artist featured is just 5 years of age.
Mr Dreyfus said as a result of the Solar Cities Program the Magnetic Island community has achieved a 33 per cent reduction in peak electricity demand when compared to business as usual without the project.
Ergon staff atop the photo voltaic roof of the Solar Skate Park. (Photo courtesy Ergon)
The energy savings has delayed the construction of a costly cable to transport electricity to the Island from the mainland.
“Effective climate change policy includes strong support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a carbon price. A carbon price puts a price-tag on pollution, and helps create the incentives needed for long term investment in clean energy like the solar panels you see here today,” Mr Dreyfus said.
The Australian Government’s $94 million Solar Cities program is a partnership between governments, industry, businesses and local communities to trial sustainable energy solutions.
The program trials measures that allow households to save on their energy bills by, using less energy, paying less for energy at off-peak times and generating their own solar energy.
Following the opening which included stalls and exhibitions the skate park was literally over run by kids of all ages wielding everything from skate boards to trick bikes, scooters and even tonka toys - keen to return to the now-shaded arena.
But at 4pm the focus shifted from the skate park to the Solar Cities Smart Lifestyle Centre where the newly built solar stage became the focus for Magnetic Island Musos Club’s 10th Anniversary Concert. And what a night it was.
The audience began to build through the afternoon
Many who’d attended the day-time events returned as the sun went down to witness a huge showcase of local music including: Bananband and their wonderful historical Caribbean rhythms; Bruno Berthelot and his original and passionately played songs from his life; Marley Hannan appearing as Andy Kaufman, Rik Mayall and Elvis, all-in-one; George (your correspondent) and Niels Koelman with our mix from Hank Williams and Leonard Cohen to my own originals. Sweet Thing returned with Helene Rankin and Ray Kennedy smoothing out with Helene’s keeps-playing-in-your-head originals. Later came Mal Hamilton, again working through an array of his wit and wisdom in song and ably assisted by Tania McBride who followed later with her own set - showing off her lovely country cross vocal style.
Busy all night: Ray Kennedy and Mark Hannan, getting the sound as sweet as.
The return to the stage of Magnetic’s teen sensation band the Jay Walkers with a new and very impressive lead singer Zac Chilcott was another highlight and we hope to see these boys in front of an audience again soon.
Interspersed with the musos were another Magnetic attraction, Dominique Abraham’s wonderful Fire Flyz who mesmerised the appreciative audience with three performances which married a sexy hint of belly dance into a fiery acrobatic fantasy.
At the other end of the yard the audience could reflect on Musos’ history as graphics and photos from the Magnetic Times archives stretching back to the club’s inception were projected onto the movie screen.
The Vacant Lot in action
When the Vacant Lot got up to play for the first time in front of Musos’ Club audience in many years the audience soon rose to its feet for dancing. Launching into Paul Kelly’s “Dumb Things” it was very like the musos’ nights of old at the Sport and Rec Club but with far better sound quality and all beneath the stunning and futuristic cantilevered structure designed by Insideout architect's, Tania Denis.
Following the Lot was Peter Jackson with a reworking of his well-known Magnetic Original Music CD song “Gutted”. Dani Ceccarelli joined Peter in a gorgeous version of "Miss Celie’s Blues" (aka ‘Sister’) and the couple were beautifully supported by Niels Koelman on his magical mouth harp and the every reliable guitar of Matt Whitton.
Sara Shaw Quartet at work
The Sara Shaw Quartet brought a very sophisticated jazz blues hybrid sound in which ex-Procol Harum keyboardist, Chris Copping, took the shape of the arrangements in exciting and unexpected directions. Their dummer, Ant Renzella, deserves special congratulations for his safe-handed support to SSQ and a number of other acts on the night.
Ben A. Factor from Lonesome TrioWill Joelson busy building rhythmIf you weren't in the poster maybe you were in the audience
To end the night Townsville’s Lonesome Trio - lonesome because they’re a duo - consisting of Mr Ben A. Factor and Mr Will Joelson, fired up the very happy and huggy audience with their own brand of fresh-outta-da-swamp driving rootsie blues. Their reworking of "Used to Love her" was a special treat but their combination of driving slide guitar with percussion that seemed to almost crash over itself in ever building waves of rhythm really got the yard jumping.
Yesterday we witnessed a great moment for Magnetic Island youth, Magnetic Island music and the community at large and this community should thank Ergon and the Solar Cities without reservation. We have not only been able to play a part in an important prototyping for future energy needs but have, into the bargain, gained recreational infrastructure we might never have dreamed of.
As a member of the community appointed working group who collaborated with Ergon and the architects in this development, this editor would like to note the huge contributions to the success of the project by Ergon’s Ian Cruishank and Julie Heath and the many other Ergon staff who have supported them.
Thanks too should go to Dani Ryan of Horseshoe Bay for originally suggesting that the solar panels be used to shade kids instead of cars and to the other member of the community team, Mr John Wicking for his thoughtful and highly focussed leadership of the group.
As for Musos Club, the efforts of Ray Kennedy and Mark Hannan who worked tirelessly to produce really superb sound over the night, and the efforts of the club’s “Membership Missionaries”: Helen McDermott, Helene Rankin, Christine Corbett and Renatta Mitterlechner, Ann Kearney and Rosie Gordon did the club and the community it serves proud . Carol Kyle and Helene Rankin also worked creatively to produce a beautiful banner and some fun decorations.
Musos Club’s sponsors, including Townsville’s Xerox Business Services who have supported the club with superb poster printing at a very affordable price over many years must be congratulated.
MI Musos Club is also a member of the MI Community Development Association, whose umbrella support was crucial to the event going ahead, is also warmly acknowledged.
Other supporters included: Geoff and Sharon Downes and Fantasea Cruising Magnetic.
Story and photos: George Hirst (also reporting as President of the Magnetic Island Musician's Club)
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