Audrey is putting it all together. At age 16 she is still in Year 11 at high school. She was learning the piano for a year, she says. She also tried the recorder and ukulele. “I did choir too. Nothing ever really stuck. I wrote a couple of songs. None of them had titles. The lyrics kinda didn’t make sense.” The way Audrey says that is no bad thing. She means they were a bit abstract, private, hard to explain. Just not straight forward.
Right now, she’s in the middle of reading Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History. “It’s got really interesting character dynamics. And it’s funny.” More than anything Audrey likes to doodle and draw. A lot. Art is where it’s at for her.”This might sound random but am thinking maybe in the future I’d like to make films.”
Somehow amid all this searching energy, Audrey has become the teenage powerhouse behind the Addi Rock Youth Committee. Addi Rock being a massive new youth music festival that will happen inside Gumbramorra Hall at the community centre in Marrickville on Saturday September 16.
Today, she’s at an after-school ‘staging-and-crew meeting’ with Addi Road’s Venue Manager and a local school music teacher, figuring out all the technical aspects to the event based on what she and her friends have already got happening. Next up: what music equipment do they still need; how is the PA and lighting set-up going; are things ok for managing all the band changeovers in a single day; basically, who is doing what, where and when? Audrey is also starting to think about sponsors, local businesses that might support Addi Rock with equipment or in other ways?
The organisational talk at her meeting zig-zags along. During the conversation Audrey seems more curious than overwhelmed by anything discussed, though later she will joke, “If it was all said in German maybe I’d understand the tech stuff more.”
Curated and completely run by a group of young people led by Audrey (and her co-conspirator Paddy) Addi Rock currently has 18 bands and solo artists slated to appear. “I did not come into this with any expectations,” says Audrey. “I thought it would have been more difficult. But it’s been quite smooth sailing. So far!” she laughs. “I guess we’re headed towards the grindstone of the actual day now. It’s a big thing to do.”
Her own tastes in music are pretty mixed. “The Shins are probably my favourite band,” she says. She also likes Regina Spektor, Sinead O’Connor, Simon and Garfunkel, The Triffids… just too many to mention. She shrugs her shoulders trying to think of who else she might name so you don’t get the wrong impression about her tastes. “It’s a strange range of stuff.”
Audrey is not very keen on being interviewed at first. There’s already an interview online with Paddy about the Addi Rock festival. “I will only say all the same stuff as him,” she says dismissively. Then she agrees because, okay, maybe it will help spread further word of their teenage-run music festival.
The irony is Audrey says she has “never really been a musically-driven person. I more like creativity and the arts in general. Especially working with people. I just like getting people together. They’re interesting.”
It started with her friends in a band called Dragons in Hats moaning about being teenagers and not being able to get gigs anywhere because of licensing laws. Paddy had “kinda been managing Dragons in Hats” before he, too, started a band of his own. He was complaining about the same thing: not being allowed to play in bars because people were drinking and they were only 16.
“So I said, what if we just made an event ourselves?”
They got talking about the possibility after meeting at #HampersofHope, an event that took place across a week in December last year at Addi Road. “It’s in this big hall,” Audrey explains. “And like this giant production line with lots of people volunteering. The hampers are these big cardboard boxes everyone packs with food and treats. And then they give them to families at Christmas.”
“Paddy was there like all the time. We never talked at first. I thought he hated me. Like he was giving me dirty looks. Then I got my friends Dragons in Hats to play for people while they packed the hampers. They packed them as well afterwards. And we all started talking. Eventually, I said to everyone, ‘We actually have a bunch of resources and a big space we might be able to use.’ We told Rosanna (Barbero, Addi Road CEO) what we were thinking and she loved the idea. So just from our random meeting and conversation it all started.”
Along with Dragons in Hats, Audrey has some other friends who have piled in to play. Two of the bands she likes have members from Newtown High School. One is called Junk, the other Sunday’s Fault. Audrey thinks they are pretty good “grungy-like rock ‘n’ roll bands”. Another friend of hers called Akasha “does this really cool drumming thing”. “But most of those playing I have no idea. They have just filled in the form for joining Addi Rock through the socials online. I have to look at their links. They all seem like different interesting people.”
Audrey has really enjoyed working with Paddy and the Addi Rock Youth Committee. “Paddy is very laidback. I am always wanting to go to ‘100’. Let’s go, go, go! He is like, ‘you gotta chill out’. Paddy is really good at knowing people and he thinks of stuff I don’t think of because he is in a band. We have different areas of interest, different aspects we want to do for the festival. I want to design all the stuff. He likes to talk to other musicians. I think we make a good team.”
The logo for Addi Rock comes out of what Audrey describes as “how much I love doodling. But I do a lot of different stuff, it’s not like I work in any one medium. I’ve done all the designs for Addi Rock and the merch. I was trying to emulate the vibe we want. To help build this grungy feeling. We don’t want it to look super-prepared,” she says, ” or for it to be over-analysed. We want it to look like fun. So with the logo that was what I wanted to create. Not that I am trying to manufacture that feeling. I just like scribbles. For a while I was very into cartoonish stuff, people like Kudelka and Fiona Katauskas. I really like David Shrigley. Not so much the political stuff. But the way the drawings have these funny little messages.”
When Audrey got to work on the design for the t-shirts for Addi Rock, it got her thinking even more about the ethos behind the event and how to represent it. “You know with t-shirts for festivals, how they usually put all the names of the bands on the back? Like a set list of who is playing? We had no idea who that might be – and we are still finalising things now. So along with the logo I designed on the front for Addi Rock, I got this idea to put some lines on the back of the t-shirt. We will have a bunch of paint-pens on the day and you can buy a t-shirt and then go get the bands you like to sign on each line on the back.”
“I just want to make the whole day like that. To get everyone connected and talking to each other. So they can learn about what Addi Road does for the community and everyone at Addi Rock can meet each other and make friends and do loads more. I’m super excited.”
Addi Rock Music Festival is on Saturday 16th September inside our Gumbramorra Hall at thecommunity centre in Marrickville. Heaps more information to come!
Any local businesses keen to support or sponsor this event please contact Shannon at email@example.com
If you’re under 18 and can perform a 15-minute set you can contact Paddy, Audrey and the Addi Road Youth Committee via Instagram or email below…