Produce by the Pier is back this Saturday for a second serving!
The fortnightly event not only offers fresh produce and green design, but is served with a healthy side-dish of local music and eco conscious performers.
Al Buchan returns with his fRETfEST roster combining a collective of talent with a holistic approach to creating independent music careers.
The masterchef of music mentoring gives us the down-low on how music is food for the soul…
fRETfEST is a Live Music Showcase and Music Mentoring Program guiding artist starting an independent music career, built around live music performances, industry insights and audience development.
Praises are sung by Pete Murray (who has maintained credibility while also achieving six times platinum proved success) “fRETfEST was one of my earliest gigs, and it gave me the opportunity to play my original music to an appreciative crowd.”
Not only do fRETfEST artists perform at Produce by the Pier, but they also provide all Australian Music for sale including those of the local musicians you can meet in person.
We sit down with Al Buchan to find out more about this initiative…
Tell us a little about yourself…
fRETFEST began as a response to local musicians moaning about the lack of live gig in Brisbane. I set it up single handedly from my studio under my house in Clayfield at the time. I went to hotels asking for a chance to showcase cool new solo singer songwriters and the Jubilee Hotel gave me the opportunity. From there we moved to the Pavilion (which has since become the HiFi in West End) and that’s where I met Pete Murray. Pete was tired of playing covers. He wanted to play his own songs. SO he played at fRETFEST for a little over a year and since then, we’ve welcomed hundreds of musicians onto stages across Southeast Queensland including Thom Busby (Busby Marou), Bobby Flynn (Aust Idol), and Andrew Redford (Telstra Tamworth Discovery) to name a few. In 2007 I negotiated a deal with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre that put fRETfEST on the Map! We had over 200 entrants in our singer songwriter search and we took 40 new musicians to the Woodford Folk Festival that year. We’ve been invited back every year since then and now we hold music showcase events at local community festivals across Southeast Queensland, bringing richly deserved attention to local acoustic musicians.
What are the hardships you face?
Our greatest threat has come from gambling introduced into hotels. This has forced live music into ever diminishing corners and, with the ramping up of public liability litigation and liquor licencing, hotels have lost their hospitality…. High-jacked by retail. Live music entrepreneurs like myself have been forced underground. So we are here to bring fresh new (high quality) original music back to the streets. We know these people are out there in the community writing great songs. We get to meet them every week and they are working with us on our new music mentorship program. The “farmers of folk”, the “Produce Poets”, these young musicians are the equivalent of Goats Milk Soap and Queensland Pineapples! Smooth and tasty! This is 100% pure local music at its finest. That’s Fretfest.
How long have you been in the game?
I have been producing local music since 1997.
What prepared you to be a musician?
I picked up an acoustic guitar when I was 14. I wrote my own songs and won a local talent competition when I was 16. I started playing in coffee Shops when I was 18 and by 22 I had formed my own band that won the Brisbane Battle Of The Bands. We supported Mondo Rock and then signed the wrong management deal and the band broke up, disillusioned. I took a few years off and then my Mother died suddenly and I decide I was going to do what I really wanted to do in life which was produce music. So I set up a recording studio and placed an advert in Timeoff Magazine and here I am, 15 years later running my own indie music company on the Gold Coast.
What other ventures do you have?
Every year we make a compilation Cd of local music. The latest Cd is called DEEP WATER in Support Of The Australian Environment. It features Nathan Kaye who is now working with Pete Murray full time, Paul Greene who is signed to ABC Publishing, Georgia Potter who is travelling the world showcasing her music, and an array of equally talent local musicians songs, beautifully produced, The album proudly carries the LOCK THE GATE LOCAL and MADE IN AUSTRALIA symbol. See www.fretfest.com/deepwater
Is fRETFEST a family business?
Yes. My partner, Melinda is the music mentorship administrator and our children attend every show. They are aged 12, 7, 5 and 0. Our baby boy was born on 26th December. We delivered him at home, unassisted and we did not go anywhere near a doctor or a hospital at any time during the pregnancy. He is growing quickly, super strong, sleeping and eating well and responding perfectly to normal stimulus. Our children attend the Silkwood School at Nerang and we own our own home in Southport.
How long does it usually take to create music?
Stevie Wonder said the best songs just come to you, fully formed, like a baby. All you have to do is have your antenna up to catch them as they fall from the heavens. We work with people who catch songs like that. Real songs. Real music! Original artists. Original songs.
Describe the general process you go through…
What are some of your accomplishments?
Nominated for Local Hero Award at 2010 Australia Day Celebrations. See http://westside-news.whereilive.com.au/news/story/red-hill-guitar-hero/
What inspires you to attend farmers markets?
Health of the land, sustainability, bio diversity.
What are some of your favourite foods?
Home cooked meals.
Do you have a favourite Chef?
My partner Melinda, followed closely by…. ME. We grow our own veggies and have chickens.
The shape of our home grown carrots rarely resembles the supermarket variety. In fact they more often resemble the shape of an alien life-form. A constant source of humour for the children.
What do you like best about growing your own vegetables?
Enjoying my own produce.
What do you dislike?
Feeling like I am in the minority. Coal Seam Gas Mining.
What is your favourite food inspiration?
Food Inc! See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0
What food trends do you see for the near future?
Local grown, unprocessed, consumed locally, without transportation, without chemicals and without cruelty.
What do you believe makes quality food?
What advice do you have for shoppers when buying their food?
Stay away from Supermarkets.
How would you prepare for a morning at Produce by the Pier?
Get there as early as possible.
Along with entertaining those who attend found at Produce by the Pier, fRETfEST is held at a variety of locations around Southeast Queensland, Australia. To find more information on gigs and workshops, go to the website: www.fretfest.com
Any Gold Coast singer songwriters who wish to take part in the Produce by the Pier entertainment schedule should apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .