Cy­clone ben­e­fit con­cert raises $40k for the SES.

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times.

WHETHER it was Paul Fenech ‘thong­ing’ bo­gans, James Blun­dell smash­ing out some tunes or Steady Ed­die crack­ing up the crowd - there was plenty of en­ter­tain­ment for every­one at Whit­sun­day SES­sions last Satur­day.

The cy­clone re­cov­ery ben­e­fit con­cert held at the Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club was broad­cast around the world via the Fes­ti­val TV crew from Bris­bane, in­clud­ing top live per­for­mances from some of the best co­me­di­ans and artists in the world.

Tourism Whitsundays also es­tab­lished an ar­range­ment with flight part­ners Tig­erair to pro­vide free flights for vis­it­ing me­dia to come to the re­gion and cover the event.

Six jour­nal­ists took up the op­por­tu­nity to take part in Tig­erair’s Re­cov­ery Ben­e­fit Famil.

The ini­tia­tive at­tracted Courier Mail’s QWeek­end Mag­a­zine, News­corp’s ‘Es­cape’ travel sup­ple­ment, the Bris­bane Times, Out and About with Kids mag­a­zine, the Gold Coast Bul­letin, News lo­cal and two Tig­erair rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Tourism Whitsundays chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Turner said the added me­dia ex­po­sure would spread a pos­i­tive mes­sage around the world.

“Pic­tures speak a thou­sand words and we can all talk about what it looks like (post cy­clone) but to have peo­ple view it for them­selves across a range of medi­ums and hav­ing jour­nal­ists writ­ing about it as well is an­other op­por­tu­nity to re­ally show what the Whitsundays looks like and the re­al­ity is it looks great,” he said.

Mr Turner praised the organisers for set­ting up an event that catered for peo­ple of all ages and tastes in en­ter­tain­ment.

“I think the fact that the acts all catered for dif­fer­ent mar­kets and that the event was in­clu­sive for every­one was one of the most im­por­tant things,” he said.

“We needed to make sure kids were catered for and other peo­ple were catered for with mu­sic tastes.

“Butto and his team did an ex­cel­lent job put­ting on the event and should be com­mended for the ini­tia­tive.”

There were a range of kid friendly activities avail­able in­clud­ing a jumping cas­tle and face paint­ing to en­joy.

Gold Coast band Mis­tram kicked off the mu­si­cal per­for­mances for the day at 10.10am, fol­lowed by an ar­ray of ta­lent in­clud­ing Andrew Cousins, Kieran McCarthy, Steady Eddy and more.

Self-de­scribed semi-Whit­sun­day lo­cal Steady Eddy re­ceived an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­sponse from the com­mu­nity for his sharp and hon­est wit.

“It’s no frills and no bulls*** hu­mour that’s all it is, there is no great mys­ti­cal thing that in­spired me,” he said.

“Peo­ple of Air­lie Beach al­ways bounce back and un­for­tu­nately (cy­clones are a) part of liv­ing here. If you want to live in par­adise then ev­ery now and then you will have a cy­clone.

“I’m just glad no-one was killed and ev­ery­thing else can be re­paired as it has been done be­fore.”

Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic leg­end and Air­lie Beach icon Kieran McCarthy said it was a priv­i­lege for him to be part of the line-up.

“I think the whole com­mu­nity went through post trau­matic stress syn­drome for a num­ber of weeks once the adrenalin fin­ished and this is one of those af­ter­noons that can be com­pletely up­lift­ing,” he said on the day.

“So many peo­ple are here to come down and re­lax and for­get about their bro­ken homes and have a good time.

“It’s al­ways an ex­pe­ri­ence for me, I feel very much a part of Air­lie Beach and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Fresh off the stage and drip­ping with sweat, Le­gendary artist James


MAS­SIVE THANK YOU: Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic pro­moter Gavin “Butto” But­lin leads the vote of thanks to the SES at Whit­sun­day SES­sions on Satur­day.

Pauly Fenech from Housos vs Fat Pizza.

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