Dig the Big Rig Gig
THIS Saturday night will see the Big Rig Gig, a righteous celebration for the Northern Rivers' hard-won victory against the CSG invasion.
Two of the movement's protagonists, Anne Thompson and musician Davey Bob Ramsey, tell of their part in this joyful moment.
Anne Thompson is one of the principal organisers of the show, to be held at the Lismore Workers Club. Together with roots rocker Marshall OKell, she put together an eight-act line-up, including Davey Bob, for a fundraising festival that will be streamed live on River FM 92.9.
A landowner at Eltham, Anne is better known for organising drought and flood relief programs.
"When (anti-CSG campaigner) Brian Monk came cap in hand for help to raise money for specialised health tests to prove that CSG was causing serious health problems, particularly for small children in the Tara area, I remembered an offer made to me by Marshall that if I ever needed a fundraiser he'd be happy to play," she said.
"I approached him. He thought it was a great idea."
They decided to keep tickets affordable, while still gathering significant funds for the beleaguered families at Tara.
"It was always going to be a chance for people to let their hair down and enjoy themselves, but little did we know how much of a celebration it was going to be."
Davey Bob is a well-known folksinger and activist in the area. But it was his strong blood ties that provoked his celebrated arrest in June 2012, the first at a Northern Rivers CSG action.
"The first time I heard of coal seam gas was March 3, 2011, which would have been my grandfather, Bob Ramsey's 96th birthday had he not died the previous May," he said.
"He was a gentle man, a water diviner and great appreciator of nature. I discovered that there were plans to drill at Naughtons Gap, where he farmed in the 1930s. Naughtons Gap is the spiritual home of my family, and I was never going to stand for the poisoning of that special place.
"I had campaigned over this, but I wanted to put my body on the line, so volunteered for the first direct action. Around dawn on June 20 I attached myself to a bulldozer at a waste-water pond near Casino. My trespass charge was dismissed and others were inspired to participate in similar non-violent direct actions which brought about the current cessation of CSG activity by Metgasco."
- The Big Rig Gig will feature Davey Bob, Marshall OKell and the Pride, Hussy Hicks, The Re-Mains, Lucky Wonders, Cory Legge and the Swamp Stompers, and fellow anti-CSG folksinger, Luke Vasella. Doors open at 7.30pm, tickets are $20.