By Amber-Louise Sleight, Dylan de Jong & Josh Preston.
The success of Nambour’s first NamJam Busking and Street Performance Competition proves the event, with the community’s support, will have an impact in reactivating Nambour.
The event, on Saturday, April 1, was an initiative from the Nambour activation plan which aims to rejuvenate Nambour by bringing people back to the area.
NamJam event coordinator Misha Prior says about 64 acts were scheduled to perform, though only 42 were in attendance because of the bad weather from ex-tropical cyclone Debbie.
She says the events success is all thanks to the performers’ word-of-mouth after she put out an initial expression of interest, sending links to all the buskers who organisers “really liked”.
“Word just kinda spread through the busking community,” Ms Prior says.
“The music industry community up here is so strong in communicating and everything, so I think it just blew up like that.
“The quality of applications were just so high we wouldn’t have turned anyone away.”
The buskers activated Nambour’s Town Square, C-Square and Lowe Street.
With a large interest from young people, a “safe special place” was also created at Quota park as a “youth art showcase stage”.
The Nambour Alliance created the event with the support of the Sunshine Coast Council in an effort to bring the community and local businesses together.
The local TAFE has also taken on a role in the project.
TAFE Queensland lead vocational business, management and project management teacher Karen Artis says students are involved in the “preparation, running and evaluation” of NamJam.
“Next semester’s Diploma of Business students will be working towards project managing this event,” Ms Artis says.
She says for the next NamJam they would “like to see more publicity pre-event to attract more spectators” and will consider hiring food trucks for the day.
“We will discuss this at length with our students and compile a ‘lessons learned’ register,” she says.
Feedback is also being collected from the public.
NamJam busker and Petal and Peace vocalist Peta Pomerenke says if the community gets together, events like NamJam can be really successful.
“Nambour has the opportunity to become a bit of a sub-culture around here, a hub for the Sunshine Coast for arts and creative people,” Ms Pomerenke says.
By Josh Preston.
The pairing of folk and hip-hop music may be considered a little risky, but singer/songwriter Peta Pomerenke and rapper/wordsmith Adan Carter have no trouble blending their talents and making their kindred spirits shine, whenever and wherever the two travellers are playing.
“We’re Petal and Peace, a couple of travelling gypsies,” Carter, 26, announces toward the conclusion of the duo’s set at the inaugural NamJam event. “We would’ve made great hippies in the ’60s.”
It isn’t hard to agree with that sentiment while watching them in action. They’re warm, relaxed, friendly, and funny in between renditions of original tunes ‘Come by Here’ and ‘Happy Honey’, passing out positive vibes to the locals milling around Nambour Central’s C-Square complex.
“We usually perform best when we can feed off the energy a crowd gives us,” Pomerenke, 31, says afterwards. “When they give you attention they’re giving you energy, and that always helps you give more energy as the performer. I feel like we got that today.”
Sitting in a pub about an hour following their 4pm performance, the story of how they met proves every bit as entertaining as the music they create.
“In January last year I’d just moved out to Stanthorpe, where Adan grew up, to base my solo stuff between Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, so it was like a midway point,” Pomerenke says. “And so I met Adan at the pub, and the first thing he did was show me his film clip! He talked himself up a lot; he said he was from Melbourne.”
“I WAS from Melbourne,” Carter interjects with a grin. “I’d been there a few months!”
“That’s not the way you made it sound at the time,” she replies, giggling. “Anyway, he showed me his film clip and I thought he was alright. My phone actually died so we couldn’t exchange info properly.
“I memorised his name, and as I was going home I made up this weird little jingle; A-D-A-N C-A-R-T-E-R, Adan Carter, Adan Carter, all the way home. I sent him a Facebook message as soon as my phone charged just saying ‘Hey, remember me? Don’t forget who I am!’
“The next day I was going to a friend’s party and I invited Adan. We were making music together from then on, pretty much.”
Since that night, the two have been playing gigs up and down the coastline of Australia, drawing on their experiences as solo artists to create a healthy mix of original material, variations of classic pub covers and even the occasional spoken word piece.
“It was very organic,” Carter says. “We just decided to fuse it together. One of the best gigs we played was very early on, at a Celtic festival in Glen Innes. We did about an hour of improvised material with Peta’s covers.
“It was the definition of a loose gig — lots of young people just being rowdy as f**k. We had people shouting ‘Can you play Uncle Kracker?’ We played four hours and the last hour and a half was totally improvised. Peta would play something from her mind-boggling list of covers and she’d count me in, and I’d just start rhyming. They all wanted to party with us afterwards, we felt like minor celebrities,” he says.
“The best place to play for crowd involvement and response is a country pub,” Peta adds. “They’re always fun. They don’t hear much of the hip-hop side.
“You’re gonna get people on their feet, dancing, singing, and usually you get a good response doing what we do. We’re adding our own ideas onto something else. We’re being creative with it, putting a bit of a spin on it.”
It’s getting dark outside, the NamJam is drawing to a close and the winners are being announced. Once again, Petal & Peace’s stylistically mellow blend of rap and folk has caught the attention of competition organisers and attendees, earning them a paid gig at the event after party.
And what does the rest of 2017 have in store for them?
“A bit of everything,” Carter says. “Some solo stuff for Peta, some solo stuff for me, some collaborations.
“We want to keep our identities together all the way through. As long as we keep making music together and recording music together through all our little avenues, we’ll be happy.”
By Maddy Major.
Sunshine Coast busker Dan Horne sits at the table drinking his coffee as he ponders the question. He soon settles on his response after a couple of thoughtful “ums” and “ahs”, all the while his cheery outlook never wavers.
“I think somebody shared a post with me on Facebook,” Horne says.
That was how Horne first became involved with the NamJam Busking and Street Performance Competition. The event was held as part of a council plan to rejuvenate Nambour. Horne shares similar views on the event’s part in the plan, saying that he is always “honoured” to perform at events that stood to “boost local tourism” as well as the “music scene in the area”.
“A slightly more alternative group of people normally come to watch buskers,” Horne says.
His initial response to the shared post was that he “better apply for that one”. The musician of 20 years’ experience feels the reason someone shared the post with him to begin with was that he has a building social media profile as a busker.
“I’ve always played music but to actually do it as a job … I took a leap and thought, if I don’t do it now I’ll be too old,” Horne says.
With his genre described as a “blues/roots” combination, Horne relies on festivals and busking to connect with people. He finds people more willing to stop and engage at festivals. He finds at gigs he sometimes becomes lost as he’s just put on a stage in front of people whose taste in music may not match his.
With festivals comes preparation, one of the more time-consuming parts. For Horne in particular, it’s trying to get the same quality of his music through less battery-operated equipment.
“I always prepare my equipment differently … that would be the biggest thing for this particular kind of festival,” Horne says.
For the most part, Horne makes most of his income through regular gigs across the Coast having gone full time just seven months ago. He compares busking to being self-employed as on occasion he will hit a “quiet couple of weeks” and be forced to pull back on his expenses.
“I was bricklayer before, so it’s no different,” Horne says.
So, it’s a good thing he has a strong person in his life who continues to back him each time those weeks roll through.
“My wife is my biggest support,” Horne says proudly. “She works full time and we have a one-year-old.”
After his performance at NamJam, Horne won the People’s Choice Award and the Overall
Performance Award. He took home $1000 and $1000 of studio time at the ElevenPM Studio.
Tooting the Horne