Performers and community brave the heat at Sale Music Festival

Who Was That Cat was first onstage at the Sale Music Festival. Photos: Ben McArthur

Ben McArthur

THE 10th Sale Music Festival, or ‘Picnic on the Green’, was held at the Port of Sale on Sunday March 10.

Thousands from the region attended, braving near 40-degree heat.

The event featured performances by Who Was That Cat, Amber Lawrence, Matt Peter Fry, The Soultanas, Davidson Brothers, SweetLip, Ryan Lestrange, and Reversion.

There were food trucks, a barbecue, ice cream and drinks supplied by the Girl Guides and Sale Rotary Club.

The first onstage was Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Ian Bye, who described the heat as a “beautiful day” with “a beautiful light breeze.” He also said that performers were “some of the best in Gippsland.”

Amber Lawrence had two performances, one for kids and one for adults.

Who Was The Cat took stage, and played catchy rock and country songs for an hour.

About 100 people initially watched the opening songs, but none got up to dance until the fifth song, Neon Moon, came on, where about eight couples from various local rock dance groups did a choreographed dance routine.

Lead singer, Wayne Feldman said the group often plays those niche songs which he described as “if you know, you know.”

Most dancers stayed for one or two songs before returning to shade as temperatures climbed into the high-30s.

“Rock and roll clubs do line dancing, so there’s some crossover between country and rock and roll. And that (Neon Moon) has been a well-known song in the rock scene for about 40 years. And if you know the song, you’ll dance to it, which is why we play it,” he said.

The dancing area had no shade, as did the stage – the heat hit the performers particularly hard as the stage floor was made up of black fabric that reflected the heat into their faces.

“I must say it’s damn hot up there, and I’m damn glad I’m not performing later in the day. I think this is the hottest I’ve ever seen in March,” Mr Feldman said.

“At the start, I put some tape on stage to hold some of the stands, and it melted onto the carpet; I couldn’t pull it off after.”

The festivals committee members Mike Smith, Colin Adams, Kerry McMillan, David Harrington, Heather Harrington, Rowan Churchill and Ross Jackson.

Lachlan Davidson of the Davidson brothers, who was wearing pants and a flannel suspected the tape was that “good quality stuff for two dollars.”

“It’s better to play in the heat than the cold because otherwise your fingers stiffen up. I can play with my eyelids sweating, but not when my fingers won’t move,” he said.

But onstage, Lachlan said the heat was affecting his instrument’s strings, and that he planned to jump into Flooding Creek after the performance.

Event organiser, Kerry McMillan said this was not the warmest Sale Music Festival she has ever been part of; she remembers the one in 2019 at the Botanical Gardens.

“I think people just forget the past,” she said.

The day’s UV rating reached nine.

Sale Music Festival Committee Chair, David Harrington said the committee was doing what they could to help, including distributing sunscreen.

“We’ve also provided extra shade with all the umbrellas, and we have water taps, but one of the difficulties of doing an event is you can’t control the weather,” he said.

“But it’s always good; today is an appreciation of our environment and what we have here. It’s a fun and free family event that anyone can come to, and it also exposes local talents.”

The event continued until 7pm. The last performer was the Traralgon-based band Reversion.