Jack River: An eight year lead up for a massive 2018

Singer, songwriter, impresario of musical and surf culture.

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So, huge year! Sold out Australian tour for your album Sugar Mountain, two ARIA award nominations, as well as running your own festival, Grow Your Own. How’s it all been?
I’ve been working really hard for about eight years for all the things that are happening this year, and now that it’s the end of the year so I’m looking back and saying, “Wow.” When you work towards something and then it starts happening, I feel this huge want to fulfil all the amazing opportunities and do something great with them. That is overwhelming as well, I’m still like, “Woah, this is really happening.” I’m trying to adjust.

Tell us more about Grow Your Own festival.
Grow Your Own is a festival I started in my home town of Forster. It’s in its third year now. It just started because in Forster there’s zero entertainment but so many amazing people, musicians and surf culture, as well as this grower and producer movement. Me and Lee McConnell, who used to art direct Mambo and does all the Dune Rats art, decided to put it together. We wanted to make a festival that focuses on regional artists, bands and local food. It’s like a little baby Byron down there, but there’s nothing to encapsulate it at the moment. It’s a part of the coast that’s never had a festival before, but this year we’ve got DMAs, Hockey Dad, The Preachers, The Mall Rats and the Goons Of Dooms all coming down.

 
You’ve also founded and run this Electric Lady project. Can you tell us the motivation behind that?

At the end of 2016, as the #MeToo movement came out of the woodwork, I really wanted to do something in my own industry and do something that wasn’t going online and ranting about it like everyone else seemed to be doing. So I decided to make Electric Lady which was a female-fronted lineup of musicians for gigs in Sydney and Melbourne. I was also talking to Tyler Wright and Steph Gilmore and they were talking about wanting to do similar things within surfing, so we thought why not create a platform where we can profile women doing amazing things in all industries and it’s just gone on from there.

We’ve just partnered with Secret Sounds who run Splendour and we are planning some big things. The aim of it is to amplify the strength of women in any field and put the politics of being a woman aside and just look at who they are as a person and what they’re actually doing and not get caught up in all the bullshit.


Where does all this drive come from?
I just like doing stuff and accidentally starting things and seeing them through. Being a musician, there’s so just so much spare time and I didn’t want to get a normal job, I just wanted to keep working in the industry and making things with all the great people I was meeting. Plus, being any kind of artist is pretty selfish and self-centred and that really freaks me out, so I loved working on the festival.

For more info about Grow Your Own get clicking.

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