Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Chilled Out and Fired Up Weekend at Caltowie

All roads led to Caltowie on Saturday March 26 for the 3rd edition of the Caltowie Chilled Out and Fired Up Music Festival. The weather really turned it on for the sell-out crowd of 1000, who were treated to 12 hours of live music in the wonderful surrounds of the Caltowie parklands. Headliners Kingswood and The Delta Riggs entertained the crowd with scintillating sets, showcasing their broad live act experience from touring nationally and internationally. It was also a great opportunity for local and up-and-coming acts to perform in a festival setting and gain invaluable experience, particularly given the difficulty the live music scene has faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Free camping at the Caltowie parklands was well utilised, highlighting the fact that many revellers travelled from far and wide to support the event. This was helped in no short part by the inclusion of the Caltowie Festival in the ‘Revive The Regions’ initiative, where unique local music events are being staged across regional South Australia throughout the year to bring live music to new audiences. The atmosphere was completed by the range of gourmet food and drink vendors on site, creating a real ‘foodie’ vibe, and the Caltowie CFS assisted in lighting the trademark bonfires (under special permit) as the sun set.

The ongoing driver of the festival is to raise awareness and funds for mental health in rural areas, and it was really uplifting to be able to put on an event for the community that promotes togetherness and social connection, which is more important than ever.  We hosted representatives from Lifeline Clare branch, Standby Support and MNSPN to provide information regarding mental health services in our region during the day. Our guest speaker was Zane Kirkwood, the SANFL football legend and Breakthrough Mental Health Foundation ambassador, who gave a brief look into his journey tackling mental health and how he is now helping others in this field.

The fundraising efforts in 2022 have eclipsed the first two festivals combined. This is a wonderful result for mental health awareness and projects in our rural communities and will give us a strong springboard to expand on our already existing projects. Some of these projects have already been established.

Apex are proudly sponsoring again ‘The Resilience Project’ learning-based curriculum at Jamestown Community School, and new in 2022 is St. James School adopting the same program. Students across all year levels (R-12) are learning important life skills in gratitude, empathy and mindfulness, and it’s these lessons that we hope can radiate benefits out into the broader community. A very similar program, “Growing With Gratitude”, has been adopted at Gladstone High School with financial assistance from our funding.

Apex have also established the ‘Secret Men’s Business’ (SMB) group, in association with the Mid North Suicide Prevention Network. This group is for men of all ages to get together on a weekend, 6 times a year, to make time for themselves, meet some new people and try their hand at a new activity or excursion, whatever is on the agenda for that day. It’s all about helping men to feel connected to their community and importantly, take a break occasionally.

Last year, Apex were able to help sponsor (in partnership with MNSPN and SMB) a presentation by Mary O’Brien of “Are You Bogged Mate” fame, to talk about mental health in men and farmers in particular. This was a free event and had over 60 in attendance. It is our hope to be able to bring more of these types of events to our region.

Capping it off, Apex and SMB also sponsored Mental Health First Aid Training for 6 of our community members. It was a 2-day workshop and highly rewarding, so we hope to be able to make this course or similar available to more interested community members, expanding the reach and understanding out there for those in need.

This is just the beginning, as we hope to branch out into a number of new projects and partnerships with the funding we have now raised. If you or any local groups have ideas or plans for tackling mental health in our community, please contact the Apex club to share your thoughts and input.

So overall, a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the Caltowie COFU Music Festival in 2022 in any small way and helping make an invisible issue impossible to ignore. None of it would be possible without your generous contributions, be it sponsorship, in-kind donations, volunteering and everything else that goes in to running a successful event. And of course, to everyone who attended and made the event what is. Without your support through the gate these events just don’t happen, so thank you for getting behind it and promoting our community and mental health awareness on such a big stage. See you again in 2023!

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