Originally posted in Timber and Steel: https://timberandsteel.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/the-woodford-files-miami-marketta-and-rabbit-radio-gold-coast/
I’m not certain, but it may be that Rabbit Radio has gone the way of the dodo. Their website comes back with an error message, and their last tweet was some time in 2016. Shame.
Bill Quinn’s Overheard Productions title is about many things, but mostly about the chance slivers of conversation or even a word or two that leads to a new discovery.
Standing in The Duck at The Chef’s Table, waiting on a plate full of life-giving nachos, Bill chanced to hear and then see Joey Channon, the stage manager at The Duck for the morning and early afternoon sessions, and had his interest piqued by Joey’s t-shirt (Rabbit Radio).
Two days later, and Bill and Joey were seated in the most salubrious of surrounds (on the slippery slope at the back of the gent’s toilets next to The Duck and The Travelling Sisters‘ caravan), chatting about performance spaces, and radio, and grass roots music development.
*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***
*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***
Text of the interview:
Bill Quinn: It’s the tricky Day Three of Woodford Folk Festival.
I was in at The Chef’s Table restaurant the other day, got talking to a guy called Joey, and Joey had a t-shirt on. Can I urge you all to wear t-shirts more often that give some sort of outward showing of the things that you’re interested in?
Joey had a t-shirt that says ‘Rabbit Radio’.
Joey, welcome to Timber and Steel; tell us more about Rabbit Radio.
Joey Channon: Thanks for having me, mate. Rabbit Radio’s basically generated for the community. It’s located down at Miami in an arts space called Miami Marketta. The actual performance space is called ‘Rabbit and Cocoon’ hence Rabbit Radio.
What it’s all about is generating a lot of music – local acts around the Gold Coast region, Brisbane region. About getting spontaneity into performance. We give a set avenue. As well as artists, as well as carvers, as much as any avenue they want to do as an artist, much like Woodford, that expression of interest and you can get an open stage to voice your craft.
So, Rabbit Radio helps generate that throughout the community. It’s an unfound secret so far but to put that into scope, we had performances from Cat Empire about a month ago as well as The Waifs, which we haven’t seen at the likes of Woodford for probably over eight years. Mama Kin and We Two Thieves are also playing here in Woodford, so we had 2000 people at that venue.
But Rabbit Radio is all about generation of local music.
BQ: So you’re supporting grass roots but using some of the bigger names to generate the interest and exposure, yeah?
JC: For sure, and with the bigger names like The Waifs, like The Cat Empire, We Two Thieves, Mama Kin, Emily Lubitz out of Tinpan Orange, it gives the local performers basically an opportunity for someone who wants to get out there into the industry and support these major acts. So basically you’re filling up the whole venue.
Once we get that demo CD into Rabbit Radio, that’s generated to the community on the footprint of the community radio, and people can access their email, Facebook account, etc.
BQ: Do you get much support from grants or from government at all?
JC: Council has come on board. With saying that, there’s always obvious concerns about parking and litigation and liabilities, but look, they’re bending over backwards to help the facility. It’s been harnessed and embraced by the whole community. It’s all a positive thing so far, so more power to them.
BQ: You said it’s radio. So does it go out on a local footprint and does it have a digital presence as well?
JC: Yeah, certainly. It certainly does. Just with that, Rabbit Radio is not only for the performers, but also young and upcoming radio announcers who want to learn, it gives them the opportunity through a broad range of media activities.
Apart from the radio, they’ve got a generated film studio school where all the performances at Miami Marketta or Rabbit and Cocoon* are actually videoed for posterity. All that goes out, so if you check that out on Facebook at Miami Marketta and Rabbit and Cocoon*, you’ll get links to Rabbit Radio. It’s full exposure, bands coming up and certainly helps us support the community and the local talent.
* Rabbit and Cocoon is now known as Miami Marketta.
It’s at Miami, where the Lone Star Tavern on the Pacific Highway is. It’s situated a little bit out of the way, so once you find the location, I’m sure you’ll never leave!
They also on weekends, to support the radio, every Friday and Saturday night specifically, they have open food markets where you can get tastes from all around the world and people are exposed to different cultures, different food products.
BQ: In the most recent federal budget, there was talk that maybe community radio stations were going to get hit a bit hard. Has that affected you at all?
JC: Certainly we’re aware of the conditions, aware of the changes. Look whether it embraces positive change, I hope so. I think more has to be done, and I think if the community voices their concerns and sponsors our product, and certainly generates this through exposure, we’re still going to have these community radio stations available for the general public.
I think as far as media productions and radio to the performing artists, we feel it’s a more holistic outcome for the community if we can all get on board and support local product. That goes for Woodford and goes for every federation throughout Australia. We’ve got to start embracing this and nurture the culture otherwise we’re certainly gonna lose it.
BQ: Joey, thanks so much for talking with us. Just before we wrap this up, you’re doing some stage-managing here at ‘The Duck’; how’s that going?
JC: Yeah, absolutely brilliant, mate. This is my fifth year at ‘The Duck’. In the real world, I’m a professional rigger, I’ve worked with Cirque du Soleil at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, so it’s a pleasant change moving from U2 or Rolling Stones into ‘The Duck’ and listening to traditional folk lines, but I keep coming back. I get two weeks off a year, I volunteer my time and that’s what keeps this beautiful place called Woodford alive.
BQ: Joey, thanks so much.
JC: Thanks for having me, mate. Cheers.
Joey isn’t performing at Woodford per se, but you can enjoy his seamless stage management at The Duck from 8am to 1pm every day, including the Poets Breakfasts and some of the finest acoustic and folkie acts getting around on the precinct.
The Cat Empire at Miami Marketta, October 2014, courtesy of Rabbit Radio: