THERE wasn’t a more proud community than Kalannie on Saturday night, as more than 1100 people made their way to the Wheatbelt town to watch Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band Proud Mary.
The band headlined a night of entertainment at the Kalannie Town Oval as part of the Who Stopped the Rain Wheatbelt Regional Revival concert, organised by local farmers to lift community spirits during what has been a disappointing harvest for many in the region.
Buses from the surrounding towns of Dalwallinu, Wongan Hills, Koorda, Dowerin, Mukinbudin, Beacon and Cadoux transported hundreds of people to and from the family event, while others brought caravans, camper trailers and swags to camp onsite.
With tunes such as Who’ll Stop The Rain and Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Proud Mary provided fitting entertainment for the crowd, along with The Johnny Cash Tribute band and young performers C & J Rocking.
It was in mid-July when the season was at its driest that the organising group made up of Burakin farmers Jack and Viv Brennan and Andrew and Kirsten Tunstill decided to hold the concert, which evolved into an event much larger than anticipated.
Mr Brennan said expectations were exceeded over the weekend thanks to overwhelming community support, with more than 25 local and agricultural businesses throwing their support behind the show.
He said local police and ambulance volunteers also contributed to the success of the night.
“This show would not have happened if it wasn’t for the unbelievable generosity of the businesses in the Wheatbelt, many of them not in immediate drought,” Mr Brennan said.
“I just couldn’t believe the way these people wanted to jump on board with donations, many of them said we’re all in this together.
“The community of Kalannie has just been fantastic, nothing was too much to ask for, the way they donated machinery and their time, nothing was too big of an effort.”
It has been a tough year for the north eastern Wheatbelt, with many growers suffering one of the driest starts to the season on record.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Goodlands Station recorded just 152 millimetres of rain to the end of September this year, much of which fell outside of the growing season and after July.
While finishing rains in September and October made significant improvements to several crops in the region, they came too late for the many growers who cut back their programs or sprayed out paddocks.
According to the Grains Institute of WA’s (GIWA), areas in the north east Kwinana zone around Kalannie and Beacon were some of the driest regions in the State with very low rainfall.
Grain deliveries in the area are expected to be well below average, with some growers just hoping to get their seed back.
Mr Brennan said the purpose of the event was to celebrate the resilience of the Wheatbelt community and get growers off-farm to escape the stresses of the season.
Wheatbelt Men’s Health was on-hand at the concert offering free mental health advice, which Mr Brennan said was very well received.
The success of the event has prompted calls for another event next year, which Mr Brennan hinted was “in the pipeline”.
He hoped the next event would be held under more positive circumstances.
“With a bit of luck and a bit more rain this time next year we’ll all be talking about how long the line-up of trucks were at our local bins,” Mr Brennan said.
“We’re just over the moon it was such a great night, we’re really proud of everybody.”