Bright Idea: Band Wagon, a socially distanced outdoor music option

October 5, 2021
Emma Castle

A Melbourne-based performer has come up with a novel way to bring live music back to venues.

Jazz singer and violinist Fem Belling has created a mobile pop-up jazz club.

Belling was one of thousands of performers who lost gigs due to COVID lockdowns and ongoing restrictions.

Rather than letting it defeat her, Belling and her partner, technical director Casey Macrae, came up with a solution – the Band Wagon. The pair converted a Toyota Ute into a mobile stage that can set up just about anywhere.

Band Wagon
The Band Wagon. Source: Facebook

They turned the tray into a stage and installed a bank of lithium batteries so that sound and light equipment could run for several hours without the need to plug in to mains power. Belling and Macrae also found an old upright piano and stripped it out so an electrical keyboard could fit inside.

Belling told The Age: ““We can set up anywhere, and observe all the COVID-safe protocols,” Belling says.

“It would be brilliant for a picnic, or a day at a winery, a party in your driveway or a local council festival. We could just pull up to a curb and play.

“You could have me and my band playing, or use the stage for your own musicians. I would like to pitch to a big outdoor festival and curate a small show to be held in a corner of the site. Really, there’s no limit.

“It feels quite emotional to have put something together that really works during these times. We can’t wait to bring music back to the streets again.”


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