ARARAT - During 2010 a group of Ararat music fans were at a gig out of town lamenting the lack of original music shows in Ararat, 'someone should do something' was the general mood.
'Why don't we do something' became the theme later in the night; fortunately Dave Nicholson did do something and with the help of the others, Ararat Live was born.
Dave has experience both as a local performer and as musical director of the Lake Bolac Eel Festival and used his expertise to organise the initial gig.
The Ararat Live group took a few decisions prior to the first show; the group would be a non profit organisation putting any funds towards future events, Ararat Live would promote original music and ensure artists were paid regardless of the crowd size and the artists would be well looked after and then went ahead with the initial gig at the Ararat Hotel Red Room.
After three and a half years it looks as though it has worked as Ararat Live is heading towards its 50th show on Thursday May 22.
The ensuing period has seen the Ararat region visited by some of Australia's top up and coming roots artists such as Tom Richardson, The Acfields, Laura Hill, Jordie Lane and Lucie Thorne which was the hope for the organisers in the early days.
Ararat Live has also attracted a fan base for some better known but hugely underrated artists like Carus Thompson, The Little Stevies, Van Walker, Dirt River Radio, Lloyd Spiegel and Liz Stringer, all of whom have performed multiple Ararat Live gigs.
One thing that the group did not foresee in the early days were visits from Australian music legends like Mick Thomas, David Bridie, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and Dave Graney whose fantastic shows are now imbedded in the memories of the region's music fans.
Last year saw Ararat Live move to another level combining with the Moyston Willaura Football Club to bring the Moyston Live festival to celebrate Australia Day with Mick Thomas being the headline act.
This was closely followed by Ararat Live being offered an international touring act as a Byron Bay Bluesfest sideshow and bringing renowned English folk rock musician Seth Lakeman and band to the Red Room, where they played to a packed house and left the crowd in awe of their talents.
A further gig in 2013 also had Ararat Live on the list of venues as part of a huge national tour when the talents of three of Australia's best female musicians Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher combined to present their DSC show, again playing to a packed and appreciative audience.
Ararat Live assists the visiting musicians with the provision of loaned sound equipment made available through the generosity of local musicians and late last year was able to improve the sound system to a very professional level with a new mixing system purchased with the assistance of an Ararat Rural City Community grant.
The provision of equipment and the hospitality provided by Ararat Live as well as the respectful listening audience has resulted in favourable comment by all the visiting musicians and has them recommending Ararat as great gig.
This has resulted in Dave Nicholson getting more requests from artists than Ararat Live can handle, but hopefully audiences will get to see them eventually.
Although Ararat Live works hard to make Ararat a favoured venue, it has been made much easier by the venue sponsors, firstly the Ararat Hotel who provide the Red Room, whose superb acoustics are commented on by the visiting artists, as well as supplying meals and accommodation for the musicians.
The Ararat Performing Arts Centre has also assisted, with the annual Christmas show in the Ararat Performing Arts Centre a highlight of the year. The Moyston Hall committee has also helped out when a Mick Thomas show rocked the hall foundations a couple of years ago.
This year Ararat Live saw its first sell out show in the Red Room when Canadian group 'The Good Lovelies' took to the stage and transfixed the crowd with their delightful harmonies and mix of original songs and innovative covers.
Ararat Live's 50th show will feature Enda Kenny, an Irishman now living in Australia: somewhat fitting as the first Ararat Live show was Rory Faithfield, an Australian then living in Ireland.
If you haven't caught up with the Ararat Live shows; get on the email list by contacting Dave Nicholson on 0409 848 960 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org