WITH most areas in the Wheatbelt having experienced a good growing season coupled with high grain prices, what better reason is there to celebrate with a boogie and drink in hand?
On Saturday, March 2, 2019, country folk and city slickers will flock to Kalannie for the Wheatstock concert, to be held at the Kalannie Sports Oval.
Putting a country WA spin on the iconic Woodstock festival, held in the United States in 1969, Wheatstock Kalannie 2019 is the opportunity to celebrate all that the Wheatbelt has to offer.
For some, the event might resemble a similar event less than two years ago that was hosted by Kalannie.
To lift the spirits of growers and community members of the Wheatbelt after enduring a difficult season, the Who Stopped the Rain Wheatbelt Regional Revival concert was held in November 2017.
With more than 1100 people turning up to spin yarns with friends and dance as the sun went down, it was a huge success with calls for another event.
This year, as the concert is held under more positive circumstances, it seems like Wheatstock it will generate plenty of happy vibes across WA’s thriving grain backyard.
The event is being organised by a committee made up of local Kalannie residents and Burakin farmers Jack Brennan and Andrew Tunstill, who were also part of the team who initiated the previous concert.
“After the show in 2017, people were asking for another one and it’s a great reason to bring some music to the country and get people together,” Jack said.
“This year is about celebrating a good season, as most people have had an average to above-average year and grain prices are up, so the clock has struck twice for a lot of us.
“The Wheatbelt is just a great place to live and we get to showcase that.”
After the great feedback from the 2017 concert, Jack hopes even more people will attend Wheatstock, especially considering the positivity throughout the agricultural industry and Wheatbelt region.
Patrons will be able to enjoy a taste of the region through beer which has been especially brewed for the occasion using barley grown in the eastern Wheatbelt.
Lucky Bay Brewery, from Pink Lake, has long championed WA-grown barley as its core principle, using local barley across all its brews.
The brewery was involved in a similar initiative last year for the 50th anniversary of the Meckering earthquake as it produced beer from locally-grown barley and owner Nigel Metz jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Wheatstock.
“The fact that we use barley straight from the farm, one of the key aspects of our brewery is using what we grow here locally in WA, coming on board for Wheatstock really fits in with what we are about,” Nigel said.
Having worked in the grain industry for more than 15 years and coming from a farm, Nigel has always had a passion for supporting WA growers.
“That is where my passion comes from for wanting to use locally-grown barley in our beer,” he said.
“In one way the industry needs the Asian export market but we also need to remember what we have in our own backyard, so it seems like common sense that we should try and use something that we have right in front of us.”
The special brew for Wheatstock will commence shortly with about 200 kilograms of barley to be used.
“The quality that came out of the eastern Wheatbelt this year was exceptional and I am looking forward to making beer out of this barley,” Nigel said.
The theme to showcase local produce will be carried through some of the food as Kalannie farmer Garry Robinson will be supplying 10 beef rumps from his 100-day grain-fed program.
“We want to support the local community and supplied beef last time (for the 2017 concert) and are looking forward to doing it again,” Garry said.
The entertainment is a showcase of WA talent with many country tunes for people of all ages to rock along to.
The line-up includes Proud Mary, from Perth, the Pigram Brothers, Broome, Johnny Cash tribute band Fenton Oldmeadow, Perth, Chelsea Basham, Wongan Hills and young performers C & J Rockin, Perth.
There will also be children’s entertainment and food vans will offer plenty of choices for a feed in between beers.
As with the 2017 concert, Jack said Wheatbelt Men’s Health would be on deck, offering free mental health advice.
Even during these prosperous times that many are experiencing, there were still lots of people going through a hard time, he said.
“Mental health is a huge issue in the country - events like this provide the opportunity to get together, get away from the farm, workshop or office to have a chat with mates and chill out for a moment with some country music,” he said.
“We live in a great part of the world and for those going through a hard time, things might not be as bad as you think, maybe all you need to do is talk to people more.”
To keep the wheels turning on the night, about 20 locals will volunteer their time, helping out at the gate, with parking, selling tickets, behind the bar and cooking food.
The support and sponsorship of businesses from Kalannie and surrounding towns has also enabled the event to be as affordable as possible, at $35 a ticket for adults, while still being able to feature quality talent for entertainment.
For those who want to make a weekend of it, there will be space to park caravans for free.
So all you need to do is show up, bring a picnic rug or chair and enjoy the fun under the sun and stars.