Reservoir Stomp is re-imagining the festival format with this year’s quirky, colourful event.
Melbourne is in limbo. We’ve emerged from lockdown but the lifeblood of our city that is its rich, (ordinarily) ever-present live music scene is still in hibernation.
No one has been to a gig in the flesh since March and while we’ve all embraced our newly-extended leashes by flocking to our local parks and pubs, Melbourne just doesn’t feel like home without live music.
It’s a catch 22. We all miss live performances but now that we’re allowed outside, we’re less inclined to sit in front of a screen to watch a live stream gig – which feels even further from the real thing now that face-to-face interactions are back on the table. So where does that leave musicians and festivals for the time being?
The team behind Reservoir Stomp may have found the perfect middle ground.
“Halfway through the year, I was already very fatigued with live stream gigs,” says Reservoir Stomp Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Emma Peel. “And I said, ‘I’m so bored with it, I’m not doing it’.”
But with festivals across the state and country falling like dominoes in a wave of cancellations, Reservoir Stomp’s video producer, Andrew Watson, suggested they take the show online in a way that’s more engaging and interactive than a typical live stream and Peel was sold.
“Our vision is that it mixes elements of ’80s variety TV shows with the best of ABC’s Recovery, even Hey Hey It’s Saturday, I guess, and some Monty Python–ism,” she says.
“[We thought] we can make this really, really different and more like a TV show where it’s really dynamic content that has you wondering what the hell’s going to happen next, as well as really beautifully filmed performances by the acts. And I think we’re onto something unique and hopefully something that people want to watch.”
The festival will see its usual hub at the Preston Reservoir Bowls Club operating as a TV studio where the acts are able to perform onsite, with sets filmed live by a full lighting and video production crew.
“It won’t just be people filming off their cameras and that kind of thing, it will be really dimensional. I mean, the way we sort of pitched it is that it kind of disrupts the idea of a live stream. It’s basically a re-imagining of the festival,” explains Peel
Hosted by herself and Australia’s favourite puppet, Randy Feltface, this year’s Reservoir Stomp will also incorporate pre-recorded content featuring Aussie music legends doing all kinds of bizarre things.
“It’s going to be pretty kooky and just ridiculous really. As one of my friends said, this is the nonsense everyone needs,” she says.
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Reservoir Stomp is going online to present REZ STOMP TV 📺 on Sunday 29 November. It won’t be your average live stream, it’ll be full-tilt entertainment blending vibrant TV show aesthetics, stellar live music performances, and Monty Python-esque absurdity. STARRING: @archieroachmusic @savagedrinks @kutchaedwards @jazzparty_band @qohau Your hosts, @randyfeltface and @djemmapeel Plus cameos from a whole stack more Aussie music legends.⚡🎸🎵 . . Get your tickets! Link in bio. 👍 Proudly presented by @pbsfm . . . #queenofheartsmariachi #kutchaedwards #kutchaedwardsmusic #cashsavage #cashsavageandthelastdrinks #reservoirstomp2020 #reservoirstomp #rezstomptv #rezstomptv2020 #rezstomp #ilovereservoir #darebincreatives #darebinarts #melbournenorthside #melbournesuburbs #rockingthesuburbs #suburbandream #walrusesofinstagram #iamthewalrus #musicfestival #vintagelife #retrolife #reservoir #melbourne #melbournemusic #walrez #darebin #wurundjericountry #archieroach
As always, the program features a bunch of acts with some kind of connection to Reservoir.
Archie Roach, Cash Savage and The Last Drinks, Jazz Party and Kutcha Edwards will all come together to champion the northside suburb this year, not only providing a musically diverse spread of talent but an appreciation for the area and its community.
“It helps to create this really innate atmosphere, I think, because people get it,” says Peel of the lineup’s local theme. “They know that living out here is pretty special. It’s really community-focused, everyone sort of gets along. And I think that helps to bring this really nice element to the festival.
“It’s just that notion of togetherness and just loving living in the suburbs.”
A Reservoir local for over a decade herself, she founded the festival alongside fellow Reza resident and member of the music industry, Danny Walsh, in 2016 to showcase the level of local talent and give the community a live music experience without making them trek into the inner-city suburbs.
“We just noticed more and more, gradually, that performers were moving out here. It wasn’t uncommon to see, for example, Davey Lane at the IGA or members of The Putbacks just strolling along the street, and you’d be like, ‘Hey, you live in Reservoir now, too?’.”
“A lot of the great talent that is around now resides beyond the city fringes. The suburbs are really creatively fertile place where people choose to live and create their art. In the past, Reservoir’s always been known as kind of like a daggy, working-class suburb, very much the underdog, somewhere you wouldn’t want to live. But now I think that’s changing. And I think the Reservoir Stomp shines a light on that.”
A celebration of all things local, the Reservoir Stomp has re-imagined its usual maker’s market which showcases local businesses and will instead present them as “funny and fabulous” little ads throughout the day.
They’ve also teamed up with Future Mountain Brewery to brew their own beer, the Reservoir Stomp Draft, which will be delivered to Reza locals or available for pick-up.
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On Sunday 29 November Reservoir Stomp will move online to present REZ STOMP TV – a vibrant digital stream bursting with live music performances from some of Australia’s top talent and combining variety TV show aesthetics, Monty Pythonesque absurdism, and colourful suburban content from Melbourne’s north to entertain you. First up on the line-up are eight-piece powerhouse, @jazzparty_band Featuring former members of Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes, Jazz Party combine New Orleans style revelry with a punk attitude. With eclectic influences from Fats Waller to Hanni El Khatib, Prince to Patsy Cline and David Lynch to Robert Rodriguez, Jazz Party deliver jump blues, RnB and forgotten Jazz music with fervour. Visit reservoirstomp.com to find out more and to buy a ticket. More line-up announcements coming your way soon! Keep your eyes peeled. Rez Stomp TV is proudly presented by @pbsfm Big thanks to @kutchaedwards @timrogersofficial @adalitax @djemmapeel and the Wal-Rez for adding their voices to the Rez Stomp TV campaign. They know what’s up. . . . . #reservoirstomp2020 #reservoirstomp #rezstomptv #rezstomptv2020 #rezstomp #ilovereservoir #darebincreatives #darebinarts #melbournenorthside #melbournesuburbs #rockingthesuburbs #suburbandream #walrusesofinstagram #iamthewalrus #musicfestival #vintagelife #retrolife #retrohome #retrovibes #letsdothis #goodnews #festival #onlinefestival #timrogers #emmapeel #jazzparty #adalita #kutchaedwards
As always, the festival artwork and merch was all designed by local artists, too.
“We try to give back to the public, I guess, and help shine a light on the different sort of small businesses and artists living out here,” says Peel.
As well as giving back to the community, ensuring the artists are paid for their work has been a priority for Peel and Walsh.
“Being artists ourselves, we know that a lot of the time people get asked to play and perform for free or for very little, but we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make sure that everyone on the bill is paid at their normal going rate.”
While the ticket prices are modest considering the calibre of talent on the program and the amount of hard work that’s gone on behind the scenes in the lead up to this year’s special event, the team were adamant in not undercutting themselves or the artists involved.
“There has been a few people that have gone, ‘Oh, it’s not worth more than $5″, which is so insulting to all the artists, and let alone all the hard work that we’ve put in behind the scenes to it. To think that something like this is not worth paying for, actually makes me feel a bit sad,” she says.
“I wonder whether we’ve been conditioned into that, given the whole year of free streaming and that kind of thing. That concerns me a little bit.”
“I’m a glass half-full kind of gal,” she quickly adds. “We’re working to do something for the community and something that’s uplifting and positive and joy-filled, and I think there just hasn’t been enough of that this year. So, hopefully, we can inject a bit of joy into people’s lives on the 29th.”
Reservoir Stomp is happening on Sunday November 29. For tickets and more information, head to the festival website.
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