Brisbane band takes gigs to the street

GARRY LONG

Brisbane based BenJamBand is taking it to the street, performing free live gigs on the back of a trailer in various locations around the city.

Benjamin Von Einam and Andy Johnston

Benjamin Von Einam (left) and Andy Johnston have been performing trailer gigs on request on residential streets around Brisbane. Photo: Courtesy BenJamBand

 

Unable to play at traditional venues thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, the band decided to use a trailer to set up a mini-stage in suburban streets around Brisbane, effectively bringing the music to the people.

The band, who say they simply love to play music, choose their street destinations from requests made by members of the public, either via social media or in person after a gig, and will play anywhere from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.

BenJamBand lead singer Benjamin Von Einam said he wished every musician could experience the intimacy of playing gigs to locals looking for entertainment in their own street.

“It’s the fact that people are in their own homes and areas, they are so relaxed,” Mr Einam said.

“Kids are roaming free range on their bikes and in trees, kicking balls and hanging with friends and neighbours,” he said.

“You really could not get a more easy-going environment to play in.”

The trailer performances are going well for BenJamBand, which has more than 60 gigs under their belt so far, with song requests coming from audience members at the gigs aged from three up to 93 years old.

Benjamband keyboardist and singer Liam Clarke said the group dynamic was fantastic, as the pure enjoyment they had for playing music was projected out into the audience and well received through song.

“What makes trailer gigs so unique is the fact that you don’t go to the music, the music comes to you,” Mr Clarke said.

“Not only is it extremely pleasurable for us to play, but it definitely lifts the moral of streets and gives more sense of community within the area,” he said.

BenJamBand Liam Clarke and Benjamin Von Einam

BenJamBand’s Liam Clarke and Benjamin Von Einam love the community atmosphere that their trailer gigs create. Photo: Courtesy BenJamBand

 

BenJamBand manager Kim Clarke had the idea for the trailer gigs after neighbours flocked to join the fun when the band, who couldn’t perform in a regular venue, had decided to practice in their own front yard.

Ms Clarke said the work behind the scenes to prepare for the trailer gigs and make them safe for everyone was time consuming but essential to the success of the show.

“I have to Google the streetscapes, discuss social distancing rules [with people in the neighbourhood] and ensure no main intersections are nearby,” she said.

Ms Clarke said the band would consider continuing doing trailer gigs even when live music venues opened up.

“Even when venues are operational, there is something special about neighbours singing along to good live music with a glass of wine in hand,” she said.

The band played a trailer gig on Bedford Street in Gordon Park in August, which had children tap along to the music on tambourines, as families set their picnic chairs out front.

Gordon Park resident Tai Mackenna said the music at the show was great and brought a lively atmosphere to the area.

“It was really nice to see someone do that and give us something to listen to rather than us feeling sorry for ourselves,” Mr Mackenna said.

“Looking forward to seeing them again when they come around and hear their next gigs,” he said.

Although BenJamBand are hoping to play paid gigs at live music venues soon, they said they would continue to play trailer gigs as long as people kept asking for them to play on their street.

The band also want other musicians who are interested in setting up their own trailer gigs to contact BenJamBand for help, so they can spread the joy of street performing.

You can contact the band via the BenJamBand Facebook page or catch them at their next trailer gig on Saturday, at a location near you.

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