On the weekend of August 19th, we took a quick flight up to Hamilton Island, invited by Collette Dinnigan to play at the opening event of the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta currently in it’s 34th year. Curated by Collette who is also an Audi ambassador, the evening was titled ‘Under the Crescent Moon’, and inspired by the film ‘Out of Africa’. The event was hosted by Lisa Wilkinson, catered by Matt Moran and attended by celebs such as Richard Roxburgh, Teresa Palmer and Sandra Sully.
Setting off early on the Friday morning, we got a smooth run up the coast, however, we arrived in Sydney to blistering winds, and to the news that we were one of only a handful of flights not to be delayed. Swagger luck was upon us. We also found ourselves standing in queue with Vera Blue. We touched down on the island to 25 degrees and a warm breeze a cool 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Swagger luck take 2. We later found out we were the only flight to land on the island before 3pm. Take 3.
We made our way to check into out rooms, dumped our luggage, and headed off to pick up our golf carts and explore the island. There was already a great energy about the place, as plenty of boats and crews arrived ahead of a week’s racing on the water, and other events and shows began to get set up. There was Audi insignia everywhere, and we felt pretty excited to play a small part in such a massive event.
After a quick lunch down at the marina, we headed back to the hotel to meet Collette and go over the following days run sheets. She also personally approved our styling, making us feel pretty good about our sense of fashion.
Friday evening saw us viewing a breathtaking sunset, while enjoying some of the other amazing musicians on the island. Dinner was some stellar Mexican. Over the weekend we discovered there is a not a single bad place to eat on the island.
Saturday morning came and the venue began to be transformed. We were happy to lend a hand where needed, as well as learn some last minute requests for the gig. The room looked incredible, with every detail matching the ‘Out of Africa’ theme. Vintage safari style furniture, old suitcases, parchment books, safari helmets.
Sound check was our first time meeting the crew from the AV Partners on the island, who were incredibly accommodating, with sound and lighting man Adam doing a stellar job all day and night. Feeling pretty chuffed about the set up, we headed back to the room to get ready.
Finally, the gig. As guests arrived we played an acoustic canape set in the garden, and got great vibes back. We were having a ball. Dinner soon rolled around and the guests retired indoors. We grabbed some food and mingled with some of the other guests and staff at the event.
One of the amazing people we met during the night was Jimmy Niggles, the man behind ‘Beard Season’. This is a non for profit which encourages blokes to grow a chin rag in winter to raise awareness about the dangers of Melanoma. Despite being a total legend, we all feel really positive about the ‘Beard Season’ cause, so if you want more information, click on the photo below to view the website.
Obviously Shaun is out of his league here, which is rare.
Our final set was somewhat late starting, with dinner running a little overtime, but we brought the groove and had feet on the dance floor ‘til the end of the night. A spontaneous acoustic session in the garden by Matt and Eric saw the night out and band and guests elated.
Sunday gave us a couple of hours to enjoy the sun before getting back on the plane and heading back to our wonderful home on the South Coast.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to AV Partners who were a pleasure to deal with and helped us sound awesome, as well as Ally and the crew at MG Events who have kept us more than informed since the booking stage to the end of the event. They couldn’t be more helpful.
We had a blast and we hope there’s more to come.
All uncredited photos are the property of the author Matthew King and may not be used without permission.