Two of WA’s biggest music exports rocked the stage of Karratha’s Red Earth Arts Precinct amphitheatre on Saturday night at a first-time music festival for the region.
Almost 1200 people embraced the chance to let their hair down and rock out to tunes by well-known Australian alternative band Birds of Tokyo, hip-hop star Drapht and local support acts at the Red Earth Rock Fest, organised by local business Onyx Events.
Performing at the end of the night, headliners Birds of Tokyo wowed the crowd with a powerhouse performance that blended edgy and more ethereal rock sounds and featured all their big hits, including Plans, Wild at Heart and Anchor.
Their finale, a rousing rendition of singles Lanterns and This Fire, had people raising their phones en masse to capture the moment.
Before them, Drapht who shared the stage with fellow hip-hop artist Bitter Belief, was also a huge hit with the crowd with his energetic set.
The pair got almost everyone at the event up and dancing to songs including hits Jimmy Recard, Rapunzel and Sing It (The Life of Riley) and even jumped off the stage to interact with the crowd a few times.
Other local acts on earlier at the event, which started from 4pm, were rock band Patterson’s Curse, singer and guitarist Mikey Smith, the Summer Vibes trio and DJ Marcus, who also MCed the event.
The night’s music line-up was complemented by food vans and a bar, which were kept busy all night. No security issues were reported.
The event is the latest, and biggest, of several music festi-vals with high-profile headline acts to be held in Karratha this year in what appears to be a turnaround from the past few years, when the town lost all of its major music events because of fund-ing difficulties and a lack of venues.
Onyx Events’ event director and festival organiser Sean Throssell said the festival had exceeded the business’ expectations, drawing positive feedback from party-goers and artists alike.
He said he hoped not only to hold the event annually but to make it a feature music festival for the Karratha area, including growing it to three days to incorporate community programs and youth engagement with visiting artists as well as the main concert.
“For our online ticket sales, we got 107 sales from different postcodes outside of the City of Karratha,” he said.
“That’s event tourism with a massive flow-on spend … so if we are getting people from Tom Price, Broome, Hedland, that’s a huge value-add to the area.”
Onyx is already in talks with potential performers for next year’s festival.