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Two make a crowd: In Good Company music festival


Jane Munro
25 October 2010
Two Southern Cross University students have joined forces to create the inaugural In Good Company Open Air Music Festival - a 12-hour charity event to be held at the Lismore Turf Club next month with close to 200 artists, including headline act Ngaiire, volunteering their performances.

Organisers Horace Bevan and Philippa ‘Pippa’ Swift have been working with a team of volunteers to produce the event that aims to bring together some of the region’s best musicians; promote awareness around mental health and homelessness in the community and raise money for two local charities, the Mental Health Support Group and the Lismore Soup Kitchen.

Horace’s own story is a source of inspiration for the event. He says he knows first-hand what it is like to hit rock bottom.

“Three or four years ago I lost everything I had, my house, everything, and all I had left was a guitar pick. It was because of drugs, alcohol and rock n’ roll. I ran a business, it was all too much. I had a broken relationship, just everything went,” Horace said.

“So I am just sitting there and feeling like I don’t have a friend and I was really down and I looked at my phone and thought I don’t have any one left in my contact book. It wasn’t the actuality, but it was the way I felt.

“And one mate who has a recording studio at Corndale, he said man, you have got to start making music. So I wrote a bunch of songs about my experience, started going out to the studio, started asking different 'musos' if they wanted to join in and eventually there were about 25 people coming along.

“So we did this album together with all these tunes that I had written and it was a personal catharsis for me, I got a reinvention out of it. The album was called In Good Company and everyone said this was a really good project and so I said ‘why don’t we do a concert and give the money to a couple of cool charities’.

“Collectively we thought lets go grass roots and do it for our local soup kitchen and our local mental health organisation. So we did a show at the Star Court Theatre last year and raised $1257. I thought that was not real cool because it was only $600 for each charity but when we gave the cheque to the mental health people, they said, Horace, that $600 will feed three families through Christmas and I thought, ‘that’s how it works’.

“So the big idea for this festival began to grow and we have gotten to the stage where we have lined up 12 hours of non-stop eclectic, energetic, honest, landmark music and family-friendly entertainment that celebrates our community and at the same time promotes mental health awareness in our community.”

Horace and Pippa teamed up in May last year and together they have attracted support for the event from Southern Cross University, the Lismore Turf Club, Lismore City Council, a range of local businesses as well as federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, Member for Lismore, Thomas George MP and Lismore City Council Mayor Cr Jenny Dowell.

Horace deferred his Bachelor of Social Science degree this year as the festival grew beyond his initial expectations. Pippa has just completed a Bachelor of Education and is considering postgraduate studies at Southern Cross university next year.

She said doing the teaching degree taught her a lot about the mental health issues that young people might have to deal with and also the strategies that teachers needed to have to manage them.

“I didn’t realise how prevalent mental health issues were in schools. It has just made me realise how important it is that we have good mental health care services for young people, and the importance of intervention so that we can address any mental health problems that children might have from a younger age,” Pippa said.

“The teaching experience has made me more passionate about improving services in that area and also in putting an end to homelessness, which Horrie and I strongly believe is one of the biggest symptoms of mental illness. Horace and I, and many of the other people helping put on this event, really see mental health as an area of unmet need and we’d all like to see more funding given to the sector from governments.”

The In Good Company Open Air Music Festival line-up includes the Ngaiire Band, Diana Anaid, the Samba-Blisstas, the Re-mains, the Winsome Street Choir and many more. There will also be market stalls, food stalls, a fundraising auction selling goods donated by Lismore businesses, jugglers, art displays and roving performers at the venue.

The festival will be held from midday to midnight at the Lismore Turf Club on Saturday, November 13. Tickets are $15/12 (concession) and $30 for families. VIP tickets are $40 (they can be booked in tables of eight) and give festival-goers access to the members area, catering and elevated seating. Donations are welcome. There is a wet weather contingency for the festival to be moved to the undercover area at the venue.

Tickets to the Festival are available at Music Bizarre, Planet Music, the Lismore Turf Club, and The Northern Star and orders can be made via the website. To book tickets or find out more information visit

Photo: The organisers of the In Good Company Open Air Music Festival, Philippa ‘Pippa’ Swift and Horace Bevan.