I really can’t convey just how much I love a house show. There’s just something about a performance that’s so intimate, that makes you as a punter feel a part of something much bigger. It becomes so much less about what you’re doing, and so much more about the community you’re a part of. These kind of shows can sometimes be few and far between in this wonderful town of ours but thankfully, there are a few trying to make this pipe dream a reality, at this weekend’s Wicking Out! festival is an absolute testament to that. This week I had a chat to passionate music fan, house show advocate and real life angel Jonathan McCallum about the haps this weekend.
Tell me about your first initial ideas that grew into creating Wicking Out.
Wicking Out! started from my love for a lot of bands who haven’t gotten the chance to play in Newcastle yet. Outside of occasionally sneaking one onto a bill with an established local artist, I wasn’t seeing many opportunities for smaller scale bands from out of town to play successful shows in Newcastle. In order to make a festival with only three local bands seem appealing, we needed to work on a really exciting concept. Making the day a multi-venue event was a great fit for multiple reasons, and it’s been satisfying to see people as excited about the day as we are.
You hosted the secret Camp Cope House show late last year, is that something that inspired you to start Wicking Out?
For sure. Georgia, Kelly, and Thomo are some of the most inspiring people I know, so hosting them at our house was unbelievable. That band is incredibly special in every aspect, and the whole show came off without a hitch. Seeing everyone leaving our house with a smile on their face was an experience I wanted to replicate for Wicking Out, and for everything I put myself into.
Why do you think House Shows are important?
For smaller bands, it can be hard to convince venues or promoters to take a chance on you. In those cases, house shows are the best thing in the world. They’re not set up to make money, they’re purely for the people who love music to be able to share it in the most intimate way possible. Attending a house show always feels like you’re being let into someone else’s world for a few hours, and I don’t think that’s an experience you can replicate anywhere else.
What is it that you love about Wickham so much, particularly in relation to live and local music?
I moved to Wickham six months ago, and every venue I regularly attend is within walking distance. Venues like the Croatian Club and the Hamilton Station Hotel have been steadfast supporters of live music for years, and I’m always excited to go see a show in their spaces. Additionally, the people who work in this area all genuinely care about the difference live music makes to the lives of their patrons. I think that’s the most important thing you could ask of a local scene.
Tell me about your involvement with No-Fi records?
My housemate Campbell is heavily involved with running No-Fi Records and was the other organisational force behind Wicking Out, but I personally don’t have any permanent involvement. I love the people who work on No-Fi, and I’ve been appreciative of their support for this event. They’ve got big things coming up this year, and I’m excited to see what they pull off.
You definitely are taking the DIY till you die approach which I love! Why is that particular aspect of the festival important to you?
DIY culture is ingrained in me, and everything I do, at this point. Why would I pay someone to do something I can do myself? In addition to being broke, the DIY community in Newcastle is incredibly strong. It’s not only bands: promoters, venue bookers, artists, whoever wants to be involved. Newcastle is a small place, but it doesn’t have to feel that way.
Tell me about some of the artists that you have on the line up?
I’ll keep it to three. I think FRITZ is one of the most promising songwriters in Newcastle. No-one else is really doing guitar pop with shoegaze and post-punk elements around town, and I think she’s going to absolutely take off over the next year. Sweater Curse released their first single last month and it’s a monster. Each member of that band is incredibly talented, I couldn’t be more excited to see them play. Finally, not many people know how much SNAPE is going to blow everyone away. One of the most interesting bands on the lineup, with some of the best humans making it up.
Where can we find out more about set times and venue locations? All the nitty gritty stuff.
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live