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The Rock-itt : May 2011
2011 has marked the return of YouthFest to the Northern Beaches! From early 2000's (after the Warped Tour abandoned Australia) until 2006 Manly & Warringah Council's have held the outdoor festival 'YouthFest' to celebrate National Youth Week. With acts such as Frenzal Rhomb, Strung Out, Kisschasy, Bodyjar & After the Fall gracing the stage, market, food and info stalls, it was always a fun day and great opportunity to showcase young people's contributions and involvements with the community. Due mainly to the unavailability of headline acts, both councils were only able to hold smaller scale events to celebrate Youth Week, until this year. After having the 10th anniversary and finals of the Northern Composure Band Competition at YOYO's Youth Centre on Friday night, then Streetlight Manifesto, Los Capitanes, C.O.F.F.I.N and more at Kanga on Saturday night, the last day of Youth Week 2011 dawned, not ready for what it was to receive. Prior to the music commencing, as the stage was being set, Ranger Stacey and the Taronga Zoomobile were on the beachfront, alas I pulled up as she was leaving. I heard it went well though. Pulling gear out of the van we noticed some young children attempting their luck on the mechanical surfboard, a contraption similar to a mechanical bull, but more beach worthy. Several marquees were set up in a row, containing market stalls, chill out area, and the youth info stalls, manned by members of both Manly Youth Council and Warringah Youth Advisory Committee. These dedicated young people volunteer their time to help organise, plan, advertise and run events such as these. I received my access pass and headed backstage to be pleasantly surprised by the esky of chilled (non- alcoholic) beverages. Having forgotten to eat breakfast, I made my way hastily across the road for a healthy Sunday breakfast of chips and milkshake. Returning fed, the weather could not have been better. As The Jezabels did a quick line-check, the sun beaming down on the cheery faces of people as they gathered around the stage, the music trickling down the beach; surfers crashing on waves, and waves gently crashing on the sand in the background. Our MC's for the day were this year's recipients of the Manly and Warringah Young Citizen of the Year Awards, Ben Portnoy, from Manly and Jack Lo Russo, from Warringah. Both of them are greatly involved in their community with a variety of projects for young people and competently handled the dialogue of the day. Kicking off the music was acoustic folk-pop duo, Elodie & Marley, the perfect opening act for the day, pleasing the early gatherers with soothing melodies. The bizarre, dirty, sleazy 5 piece outfit Banditos of Funk took to the stage next. Engaging the audience with their raw, gritty, energetic funk, getting many people grooving their booties down to the ground, the band clad in Mexican highwaymen / femme fatale attire -- ¡LA VERGA! Bringing their laid back brand of pop- rock Static Silhouettes wowed the crowd with songs from their latest self-titled EP. Lime Cordiale followed, providing the crowd with a taste of their upbeat alternative tunes, even whipping out their brass instruments for a few tracks. Unfortunately, as their set was drawing to a close, the heavens opened, drenching the scene & causing many less hardy beings to scurry for shelter. This provided a hard task for Papa vs Pretty to please the sodden crowd, but their bouncy rock songs & stage presence kept the crowd entertained, although not many close to the stage. The rain seemed unwilling to let up, but as The Jezabels set up a couple of hundred people crowded in around the front of the stage. Some covered by umbrellas & ponchos, many just bearing the brunt of mother nature to get a prime spot for this groovy indie band. Everyone was dancing & really getting into them despite being totally drenched. Despite the 1000 or so people there throughout the day & the rain, there were no problems, everyone was just there to have fun, enjoy the bands & their afternoon. There were many old faces that I recognised, but plenty that were new, it was great to see so many people out to support the return of such a great event. Thanks to everyone involved who made this possible - see you all next year!