These music lovers pushed right to the front of the crowd to be at the base of the stage at River Sessions.
These music lovers pushed right to the front of the crowd to be at the base of the stage at River Sessions.

The end of an era: River Sessions cancelled

MUSIC fans around Mackay were saddened to hear of the permanent end of a favourite festival late last week.

There were nine events over 11 years, attracting names like Grinspoon, Hilltop Hoods, 360, Sticky Fingers, Amy Shark and Violent Soho to Mackay. But now Adrian Young is closing the book on River Sessions.

Speaking with the Daily Mercury this week, he spoke about why last year was the end for the event and some of the highs and lows of running of the region's biggest music festivals.

As the new general manager of Harrup Park, one of Mackay's largest sporting venues, Mr Young has come a long way from the insurance broker who had a dream to bring some big music names to his town.

 

An estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions.
An estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions.

More than a decade on, Mr Young said the reason he decided to cancel the festival was about where he was at in his life, and with his work.

"We didn't go broke," he laughed.

"It was just difficult to manage the events happening here, taking on the role as GM and then going home and spending three to five hours working on the festival, there just wasn't enough time," he said.

It was a fantastic few years, and Mr Young said he remembered the first events he put on fondly.

"The first one I did was in 2009, I think I was 22, I started small and it was just great to bring an event to Mackay, I did it for nine years in total and it was exciting to learn, and work with lots of great people in the industry," he said.

Some of the main highlights, he said, were discovering and picking bands before they got big, something he proved to have quite a talent at.

"There were some huge highlights, like getting Sticky Fingers and some of those bands early on, picking them at the start of their career and for them to play the event and go on to huge things.

 

Two people dance to the music at River Sessions.
Two people dance to the music at River Sessions.

"I had Lorde play her first gig at the event, and went on to play Splendour a month later and then win the grammy's that year," he said.

There were others.

 

 

The crowd was electric as an estimated 5000 people attended the 2019 River Sessions.
The crowd was electric as an estimated 5000 people attended the 2019 River Sessions.

"One year we had the Rubens, San Cisco, and I think 360. I got the Rubens's cheap, they had just had their first song out on Triple J Unearthed, and I picked them and they went huge after that, which was a pretty cool feeling," he said.

There were some hairy moments Mr Young said, especially as he found his footing in an unfamiliar industry.

"There were a few wild moments, one event in 2012 we had an incident where there was a punter barrier that was an older style and it almost collapsed during 360's set," he said.

"I would just like to thank everyone who not only came along to the event but everyone who helped out along the way.

"I had a lot of community support from the council, from my family and friends and there is no way I could have ever done that with them," he said.

 

 

 

Line-up history of River Sessions

2009

The Vinyl Slingers, Kid Kenobi, MC Shureshock, Electro Rockers, The Cassette Kids, Pez, Muph and Plutonic, Sam La More, The Aston Shuffle

2010

Birds of Tokyo, Ash Grunwald, Timmy Trumpet, Bluejuice, Bertie Blackman, Operator Please, Phrase, Calling All Cars, Snob Scrilla (SoundSystems), The Aston Shuffle and Shockone

2011

Little Red, The Grates, Children Collide, Jebediah, Sparkadia, Miami Horror, Muscles, Illy, Flight Facilities, MPhazes, Evil Eddie, Hunting Ground, Loon Lake, Goldfield, The Melodics, Redcoates, Mantra, Kid Kenobi and MC Shureshock and The Immigrant, Violent Soho, Drapht, Ricdikulous, Reecey Boi, Fid Frantic, Billy the Kid, La Walker, Edwin, Courtney Young, Saints Alight, Funky and Nate Cee.

2012

Hilltop Hoods, 360, Xavier Rudd, British India, Josh Pyke, King Cannons and Closure in Moscow, Tonight Only, Yacht Club DJ's, Stonefieldc, Luke Million, The Rubens, Parachute Youth and Atarii Tonight, Ladyhawke Gossling, Art Of Sleeping and locals The Tale Of Temple, My Lionheart, Billy The Kid, DJ Nay-lo and DJ Tox.

2013

Brad Butcher, Gossling, The Rubens, San Cisco, Josh Pyk, Xavier Rudd, British India, 360 and Gossling, Ladyhawke, Hilltop Hoods, My Lion Heart, Tale of Temple, Art of Sleeping, Dream on Dreamer, Closure in Moscow, Stonefield, KingCannons, Pez, Atarii Tonite, Luke Million, Parachute Youth, Yacht Club DJs, Tonite Only

2013

Chasing the Jeffrey, Ashley Cordingley, Twelve Foot Ninja, Good Oak, Kingswood, Snakadaktal, House vs Hurricane, Bob Evans, Northlane, Dead Letter Circus, Spit Syndicate, Ball Park Music, Lorde, Karnivool, Goldfields, Boy and Bear, Seth Sentry, Grinspoon, Illy, Bliss N Eso, Hermitude and Ashton Shuffle.

2014

Bliss N Eso, Boy and Bear, Karnivool, Illy, Ball Park Music, Hermitude, Dead Letter Circus, Bob Evans, Snakadaktal, The Aston Shuffle, Goldfields, Spit Syndicate, House VS Hurricane, Kingswood, Tyler Touché, Good Oak and Reecey Boi.

2018

The Presets, Thundamentals, DZ Deathrays, Glades, Jack Gray, Major Minor, Silky Fuzz & Karrie Hayward, Vera Blue, Monday Killz, Elkay, B

2019

Amy Shark, The Rubens, Illy, Skeggs, Middle Kids, LDRU, Stand Atlantic, Alice Skye and Maddi and The Hoopers.