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Young people around Victoria are doing awesome work to bring new entertainment concepts to their communities. FReeZA Spotlight aims to celebrate and highlight those achievements.

» Ashley Pert (Electric Productions, Cardinia FReeZA)
» Naomi (Boombox Events, Bayside FReeZA)
» Jess Trevena (Amped Up Productions, Moreland FReeZA)
» Ellen McDonald (Latrobe Valley FReeZA)
» Catherine Burton (Manningham Fusion FReeZA)
» Nancie Schipper (Warrnmbool Ignite FReeZA)
» Jake Bray-Butler (Alpine Shire Youth Council FReeZA)
» Steve Beecher (Alexandra FReeZA)
» Michael Hardinge (Straight To the Pit a.k.a. Maroondah FReeZA)
» Zoero Theoharou (Soundslike Productions a.k.a. Stonnington FReeZA)
» Jarrod Zdrzalka (Coastal Productions, Surf Coast Shire FReeZA)
» Archive
  


Ashley Pert (Electric Productions, Cardinia FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
My Name is Ashley Pert. I'm from the lovely town of Pakenham and I spent 5 awesome years as part of the Electric Productions FReeZA Committee.

When did you join FReeZA, how old were you and why did you initially join?
I actually joined because my girlfriend at the time was a part of the committee and it meant we could spend more time together. It was 2009 and it was just before my 18th birthday.

What role did you take in your committee? What were some of the events you got to work on?
Initially I was pretty reserved about the whole thing, unsure of what to do. But with a bit of prompting I quickly became a vocal point within the committee, leading ideas and bringing up any issues that the other members didn't have the confidence to discuss with the group.

Having done this for 5 years or so, I had the opportunity to work on so many events that it'd be impossible to list, but some of the highlights were "December Bender", a 12 hour event we held in Beaconsfield featuring Scar the Surface and Dream on Dreamer. I've also worked every Push Over since 2009, doing jobs ranging from roaming to assistant stage manager.

What are some of the challenges you found you or your committee faced? How did you work to overcome them?
My biggest challenge, as well as most of the committee, was confidence. I personally overcame this by just "sucking it up". I was given a job so I knew I had to do it. Other challenges were more in the moment things, like arriving at the venue on the day of the event to find we had no stage, or having a headliner pull out on us 2 days before the event. These kind of issues can only be faced and beaten with a quick mind and determination.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA?
12 months ago I would have said getting to work with so many awesome bands and see so many kids lose their minds when said bands hit the stage, but now I would have to say the most outstanding experience is actually seeing my former committee putting on awesome shows, and knowing I helped some of those kids learn how to do it.

What did you learn during your time on the committee?
Better communication skills, patience, negotiation skills. I learnt how to mix sound which is pretty awesome. I also learnt that no matter how perfectly you plan something, it won't go according to plan, so you've got to be able to trust in yourself to work on the fly to keep things going.

Where do you think your experiences might lead you in the future? What are your aspirations?
Because of my time in FReeZA, I now host a Radio show on 97.1FM every Saturday night at midnight (www.facebook.com/MidNightMosh). I also manage a band, The Weight Of Silence (www.facebook.com/TheWeightOfSilence), and I'm doing some training and work in audio engineering with Pony Music in Hallam, as well as running audio independently at events, such as SelbyFest in Selby. I also volunteer my time to Pave festival in Emerald.

What work/study do you do now, and how did you get interested in this line of work/study?
Right now my day job is in warehousing, only because it's what I've always done (it pays the bills), but I do some Audio Engineering when work comes my way, which I definately prefer. Also with my duties as band manager and host of a radio show, I keep fairly busy. 

How have your past FReeZA experiences helped you to get where you are today?
They've really helped me find who I really am I think. They helped me discover career options and hobbies I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. Also, without FReeZA, I wouldn't have met some of my closest friends.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Don't doubt yourself, be confident, don't MC when you're sick, and don't wear converse shoes in the pit!
 


Naomi (Boombox Events, Bayside FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Naomi, I live in East Bentleigh and study in Sandringham and my FReeZA group is Boombox Events, Bayside.

How long ago did you join FReeZA and how old were you? What made you join in the first place?
I joined FReeZA just a bit more than a year ago and I was 12. What made me join was that I got nominated for a Bayside Youth Award by one of the teachers at my school. When I went to the event I was inspired by one particular person who made a speech about how he made a big impact in the world and it inspired me to make a difference. I then asked my friend who was already a part of FReeZA how I could join and I applied straight away.

What was/is your role in your FReeZA group? What has working in this role taught you?
My role in the FReeZA group is to work with other FReeZA members and run events around Bayside for youth. This has taught me a lot about event management, which I didn’t know before I was really interested in. It has taught me how to run/organise an event, how to speak to large crowds better and with more effect on them. It has also taught me that youth around the world can make a difference and I think FReeZA is a great and inspiring way to learn how to do that.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past?
Some of the events we have organised in the past that I’ve been here are:

  • Halloween Between the Books
    We hold this annual event at a library where there is a silent disco and last year a special visit from famous children’s book author Andy Griffiths. This year we are looking to get a magician!
  • FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands
    This event is one of my favourites. All of the FReeZA groups hold their own battle of the bands where different bands around Bayside compete to win. Then the winners from all of the different Battle Of The Bands go to compete in Regional finals.
  • St Kilda Festival
    This event was my favourite to work in. Lots of different FReeZA groups pick one artist to play a set in the St Kilda Festival. Then we tag along to the event and help run our stage- The Push stage.

Other events our FReeZA group ran last year were the Beachside Youth Festival at Green Point in Brighton, the Friday the 13th Block Party and the Young People of bayside Art Exhibition.

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from putting on these events? What are some things that worked well, and what didn’t work well?
I have learnt so much from putting on these events. I have learnt mostly about event management and advertising. I have learnt about how to work with others, and how to control and speak to large crowds.
It works well when we are all organised and know our tasks for the night, and also when we all stick to the roster. But sometimes we swap duties to what we like best, and that works well too. It’s good to be flexible. I think it also works really well to have a really cool poster for your event. Because that catches people eyes, and make them want to come along.
It doesn’t work well when you don’t put much planning in to events. We need to make sure we focus at all the meetings, so we can put on the best event we can, on the night.

What do you get out of being in FReeZA, and why is it a good group to be a part of?
FReeZA is a good group to be a part of because you learn heaps of things like event management and public speaking, you meet awesome people and you have HEAPS of fun!

Where do you think your experiences might lead you or your committee members in the future? What are your aspirations? I think FReeZA will lead my committee members and I into very powerful roles and leaders for our occupations in the future. FReeZA helps people to have more confidence, to be inspired to help people and to lead and make a difference.

What work/study do you do now, and how did you get interested in this line of work/study?
I study at Sandringham College. I am really interested in performing arts and hope to maybe move to America and built up my career in acting. I have been interested in performing arts my whole life and have always loved to perform.

How have your past FReeZA experiences helped you to get where you are today?
Now that I have joined FReeZA I have realised that event management is a huge option for me as a career. It has opened up a wide range of career option that I had never considered before.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Always be confident and believe in yourself. You can make a huge impact and difference in the world and you are destrined for greatness!
 


Jess Trevena (Amped Up Productions, Moreland FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Jessica Trevena, I’m 20 years old and I’m from West Brunswick. I’m a full time student currently completing my final semester at RMIT, doing an Arts Degree majoring in Music Industry.

When did you join FReeZA, which committee was it and why did you initially join? I joined FReeZA around April 2011 on the Moreland Committee (aka Amped Up Productions) and have still been a part of this committee up until now. I joined because I really want to learn more about the music industry and get hands on experience in organising events as well as establishing solid networks.

What role did you take in your committee, and what were some of the events you got to work on?
There aren’t really any set roles given on my committee – when it gets closer to the event the group work together to decide who gets which role based on who puts their hand up for it. Throughout the past few years I have been the event manager for a few events, the stage manager and the assistant event manager (to help the younger members in the event manager role). These days I’m an all-rounder on the crew and am most likely the positioned as the photographer at most events. I’ve participated in heaps of events with Amped Up Productions – I’ve got a very long list!

  • DJ Turn It Up (2011) 
  • Battle of the Bands (2011-2013) 
  • Acoustic Afternoon (2011) 
  • Amped Up Production Presents Heroes For Hire (2012) 
  • Dance Sister Dance (2012) 
  • Amped Up Goes Acoustic (x2) (2012) 
  • Amped Up Production Presents Northlane (2012) 
  • Flicks and Kicks (2013) 
  • Built on Secrets EP Launch (2013) 
  • D At Sea – Melbourne AA (2013) 
  • Northlane Springularity Tour (2013)

What did you learn during your time on the committee?
I’ve learnt a whole lot since being on the committee – important OH&S skills, time management, the best way to contact bands, how to negotiate prices with bands (that’s often difficult), the importance of first aid and security members…heaps of things! I’m definitely still learning more now, two years later.

What are some of the challenges you found you or your committee faced? How did you work to overcome them?
Our committee has had a combination of minor/major challenges but always manages to handle things in the best way possible. It ranges from bands showing up late to soundcheck to patrons complaining about the no passouts rule. We once had some patrons who didn’t agree with our no drugs, no smoking and no alcohol policy and tried to get away with smoking in the bathroom, but we managed to get our security to monitor that and it was handled immediately and efficiently.

What work do you now do? What is your role, and what sorts of things do you get to work on?
At the moment I don’t have a job working in the music industry - I’m currently working a casual job to help get by - but I’m hoping to find something once I finish my course at RMIT. In the mean time I do a lot of volunteer work where I can at different events to help get more experience.

How did you get into this line of work? Were there any opportunities that helped you, or any challenges in getting started?
In high school my teacher told me about the course at RMIT and I decided that that was the course I wanted to do – it was either that or nothing else. I was fortunate enough to make it through and of course having a musical background really helped with that. It was overwhelming being surrounded by 59 other students who were as passionate about music as myself and that that’s all we want to do with our lives.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you? How has your involvement helped you to get where you are today?
FReeZA and The Push have definitely been a great help with where I am. I’ve attended the Push Summits and taken notes from speakers and implemented their advice into my own life – it’s the reason why I do so much volunteering now! I’m really glad I do that because I’ve gotten so much experience from volunteering, and this year I volunteered at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week! It’s more related to events, but it’s always good to show how versatile you can be in the industry.
I definitely have more confidence in approaching people and establishing lasting networks, and putting my hand up for things I’d be too shy to earlier on in my life. And when you’re in this industry you need that confidence.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Polish that resume and start applying to volunteer as soon as you can! Ask HEAPS of questions and don’t think they’re stupid because they’re actually quite relevant (especially because you’re not the only one dying to know the answer). And don’t be afraid to talk to someone in the industry you don’t really know! It could work out to be the best thing you ever do….

What are your aspirations for the future?
I really want to be a singer – that’s my goal. I don’t care if it’s in a local pub, or on an international stage, just as long as I’m singing. I’d also like to work in event management and help organise awesome music festivals and other cool events. Doing either or both of those things would be great! As long as music is always in my life in some way, I’ll be happy. 
 


ellen Ellen McDonald (Latrobe Valley FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Ellen McDonald, I am 23 years old and live in Moe in Victoria which is located in the Latrobe City Shire. I currently work running my own events management business (ElleSD) doing drug and alcohol free youth events. The aim of this is to help kids, especially those in the music community, stay off drugs.

When did you join FReeZA, which committee was it and why did you initially join?
I joined FReeZA in 2010 for the Latrobe Valley FReeZA Committee. I joined because I was going to Headspace at the time (where our FReeZA committee is held) and the leader approached me and asked if I would like to join. I asked what the FReeZA committee was and when he explained I jumped right on board, I was very excited!

What were some of the events you got to work on?
We have different roles depending on what events we are running so that everything is shared out evenly. Some of the events we have done are Battle of the Bands, CombiNation Festival, various workshops, Mixed Bag, and many other music related festivals/events.

What did you learn during your time on the committee?
How to run events, how to advertise for events, what works and does not work in relation to events management, problems and solutions arising from the local community, and what young people want, which inspired my own events business.

In 2012 you were named the Latrobe Valley Young Citizen of the Year on Australia Day. What did you win the award for?
I won the award for my various volunteer work for the community and despite my upbringing, have achieved these things.

Since leaving FReeZA you’ve started your own business, ElleSD. Please tell us what your business does and what it specialises in.
ElleSD is a business focused primarily on events management and specialises in drug and alcohol free all ages events. We have also branched out into artist management and strive to gain paid employment for young musicians to earn money off their work.

What are some of the great events your business has put on?
We have been running ‘The Dancing Banana’ festival for Old Gippstown which was originally started to help financially support Old Gippstown Heritage Park. This was a voluntary festival only to help support Old Gippstown and the music community of Latrobe Valley. We also put on similar events at the Traralgon VRI Hall. Again, this helps with the maintenance and upkeep of the Traralgon VRI Hall and provides a stage for young musicians to play on and all ages to come to a safe environment to have fun and watch their friends’ bands without being intoxicated.

How did being a part of FReeZA help you start and run your own business?
Firstly, it showed me that young people like this kind of a scene and they need an outlet. I decided to put on events similar to the FReeZA events as it’s something that this community really needs. I’ve taken what we did for FReeZA events and put that into my own business. Things from events management plans to contacting venues/musicians etc. and everything in between.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?

Don’t be shy, speak up straight away. It definitely helps you in the future.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I want to put on an all age music festival each week all across Gippsland, possibly even Australia. I want to retrain young people’s way of thinking by showing that they can have fun and watch bands play without the need of being intoxicated.
 


Catherine Burton (Manningham Fusion FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself. What is your name, age, suburb and what FReeZA group are you a part of?
My name is Catherine Burton, I am 19, live in Mitcham, and am part of the Manningham Fusion FReeZA committee.

When did you join FReeZA and how old were you? Why did you join FReeZA?
I joined FReeZA in 2008 when I was 15 years old. I joined FReeZA because I loved going to gigs and seeing local bands, and wanted to become more involved in the local music scene.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past? Please describe some events that you worked on.
The most successful events my FReeZA group have run have been our two Epic Youth Festivals, one in 2011 and one in 2012. Both years we had an incredible turn out, and everyone who attended had a great time. In 2011, we had 360 and House Vs Hurricane played, and in 2012, Masketta Fall and New Empire.

Can you describe what you’ve learned from putting on these events? What are some things that worked well, and what didn’t work well?
Running these events has taught me what sorts of bands pull the biggest crowds, and what sort of events the community enjoy. I have learned everything from planning an event from the beginning, as well as what needs to be done on the event night. For example, we once ran an event with a mixed genre line up, which were not able to pull a big crowd for. This definitely taught me that those sort of shows are quite risky and difficult to pull off.

What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
I believe the community has had a great reaction to our events. We always have strong attendance at our shows. When running our annual Battle Of The Bands, Palooza, the bands and their parents are always incredibly appreciative of our work.

What other work has your group done within the community? What other work have you as an individual done in your community?
Our group recently ran an event for Healthy Food Week, to promote healthy eating within the community. As well as this, we assist Aquarena by providing them with acoustic acts and running a stage for them on their event days. 

What events will your group be organising this year? What would you like to see happen with your FReeZA group (what events would you like to run more of)?
This year, we have already run one event, Summer Splash Day at Aquarena. This was an acoustic event to run alongside Aquarena’s summer festivities. Later in the year, we will be running a battle of the bands in June, and one other show in May which we have just began organising. We are currently waiting to see if we will be able to continue with Epic Youth Festival, which is definitely something I want to achieve again this year.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA? Why is FReeZA a good group to be a part of?
Being in FReeZA has given me excellent experience in running events, as well as given me excellent friends for life. Everything I know about events I have learnt from being in my FReeZA group! It's great to be a part of FReeZA to get involved in the community, make new friends, and you get to do it all whilst planning and running awesome shows.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
I think that continuing on with FReeZA will give me and my fellow committee members excellent experience, and hopefully lead us into awesome jobs within the music industry. 

What work do you now do? What is your role? Please provide some examples of what work (or events) you have worked on in your current role.
Whilst studying at university, I have been lucky enough to work on such events such as Big Day Out and Soundwave, working on site and setting up for the event day. As well as this, I was recently a volunteer at Pushover, which was an incredible experience. 

How did you get into this line of work? Were there any opportunities that helped you, or any challenges in getting started?
Doing FReeZA has definitely been the best thing I've done to get started within the music industry, because it provides you with real-life experience that almost everyone within the industry appreciates. I found that volunteering for every festival possible, and working extremely hard whilst doing so, gives you a reputation that will allow you to further your career and achieve your goals. 

If you participated in the FReeZA Central Mentoring Program, what was your experience like? Were you a mentor or mentee? What did you learn? How did it help you get to where you are now?
I am part of the Mentoring Program this year as a mentee, and although I have not started work with my mentor yet, I have already achieved a lot and had a great time. I have completed various tasks in preparation for Pushover, as well as assisting on the day of the event. I am incredibly excited to see what the rest of the program and the year will bring me.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you? How has your involvement helped you to get where you are today?
I definitely would not be where I am without the assistance of FReeZA and The Push. Being involved in FReeZA has been a great thing to have on my resume, as a lot of people understand and greatly respect FReeZA committees, having been in one themselves when they were younger.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA? What opportunities did you have by working in FReeZA, Push and FReeZA Central?
Volunteering at my very first Pushover in 2009 was a great experience for me. It was the first time I had volunteered at a festival before, and it got me addicted because I loved it so much!

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Never give up on FReeZA because you never know where it will lead you! 

What are your aspirations for the future?
I would like to continue doing exactly what I'm doing now! The work I'm doing on the various music festivals is incredible and I'm stoked to be able to be involved in it. I would love to be able to compete an internship on the Vans Warped Tour in America, and become involved in that, and at the moment this is my main goal for the near future.
 


Nancie Schipper (Warrnmbool Ignite FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
Nancie Schipper, 12 y.o., Killarney & part of Warrnambool 'IGNITE' FReeZA.

When did you join FReeZA and how old were you?
Ionly recently found out about FReeZA in November last year when I registered for a local event, and I'm now in the process of joining the IGNITE Creative Group.

What was/is your role in your FReeZA group and what do you hope to learn?
I’m not too sure yet what my role will be, but I am excited about learning about what is involved in promoting and organising youth events. Anything that has to do with music and the arts is fine with me!

What events have you been involved in with FReeZA?
I competed in a Disc-Covered 'Like A Version' competition in Warrnambool late last year. I would like to do a lot more with FReeZA.

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from being involved in these events?
The concert was really well run, and the sound was fantastic. There were lots of behind the scenes people to help everything work smoothly, and the judging at the end was really constructive and thoughtful. I love it how everyone and anyone can get up and have a go, no matter what level or ability you are at. I can’t think of anything bad about the event.

What other work have you done within the community?
I have done several fundraises for things like raising money for Cancer Care, Christmas Carols and also council run events. My brother and I are performing for the Royal Childrens Hospital appeal at Caramut in March, and hope to help raise lots of money for it.

What events do you hope your group be organise this year?
It's a bit hard to say just yet (we are currently planning), but I would like to see more open mike nights for younger people like me, and also see lots more people busking on the streets of Warrnambool. Busking can really create a lot of atmosphere, and make people happy when doing their shopping up and down the street. Its a great chance for musicians also to get some money to pay for their instruments, and raise money for charity.

Why is FReeZA a good group to be a part of?
FReeZA seems like a really good program to meet and work with other young people. I am looking forward to making friends, and being part of a group which I have an interest in, learning new skills and providing opportunities for other young people.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
I’m really not sure just yet, but it will definitely help me to appreciate all the work that is done behind the scenes, before and after a gig. It will also help knowing other like minded people in the music industry.

What are your aspirations for the future?
One day, I would love to be able to sing at the Folk Festival in Port Fairy. I’ve seen some really great performers there over the years, and the atmosphere & crowds are just awesome. I’d be very happy if I could to be a music teacher too and help people follow their dreams.
 


Jake Bray-Butler (Alpine Shire Youth Council FReeZA Committee, Bright)

Please briefly introduce yourself. What is your name, age, suburb and what FReeZA group are you a part of?
My name is Jake Bray – Butler from Bright, Victoria, and I’m 18 years old. I belong to the Alpine Shire Youth Council FReeZA Committee.

When did you join FReeZA and how old were you? Why did you join FReeZA?
I was 14 when I first got involved with FReeZA – I was looking to take on some volunteer work to become more involved with my community, and this FReeZA/ Youth Council seemed like a good way to do that.

What was/is your role in your FReeZA group? What has working in this role taught you?
I have held numerous roles including committee member and committee leader. I have learnt a lot about working with other people, as well as events organisation. Last year I completed my Certificate 3 in Events Management and Organisation.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past? Please describe some events that you worked on.

We have worked on a number of events including dance parties, skate events, youth awards, and live music events. The ‘Indigo Rocks’ live music event was one of the most successful events we have organised, attracting at least 600 people. It was a joint project between the Alpine and Indigo Shires, and was followed by the ‘Bright N Loud’ event. It was a massive effort, but it came to fruition due to the dedication of all involved.

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from putting on these events?
New things work well – we learnt that people get bored of a certain type of event if it is too frequent, so new and different events are always welcome. It is also rewarding to organise events that appeal to a range of interest groups.

What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
Most of our events are met with positive reactions – very rarely does the community react negatively to one of our events. Some of our events have been poorly attended, however we have treated these as a learning experiences to further our event planning skills.

What other work has your group done within the community? What other work have you as an individual done in your community?
Our group is made up of a number of highly motivated individuals, who are all proactive within the community. These range from being involved with a number of sports (both playing and coaching), to taking on a position with the local Bendigo Bank as a Junior Observer to the Board of Directors. Other work/ activities include Bluelight Committees, SRCs, Community Head Shave and countless other volunteer roles.

What events will your group be organising this year? What would you like to see happen with your FReeZA group (what events would you like to run more of)?
Most of our events have concluded – we now only have a couple of skate events remaining. These have been particularly popular, and we will run more of these in the future. It would also be good to see a return to the large scale live music events as described earlier.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA? Why is FReeZA a good group to be a part of?
We enjoy getting things done, and networking with each other. Our committee boasts a diverse range of young people who all bring something different to the group. We are geographically diverse as well, which provides us with a unique opportunity to meet fellow proactive young people from across our Shire. Being involved with FReeZA has also provided us all with skills which will help us later in life, such as organisational, team working, and leadership skills.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
I believe there are some members of our committee who would like to embark on a career in events management, and FReeZA has been a great starting place for them. There are also a number of members who are interested in sound tech careers, and once again, FReeZA has offered them a number of valuable experiences.

What work do you now do? What is your role?
I am currently employed by Alpine Shire Council as a Social Media Intern. As part of this role, I have assisted the FReeZA committee in event promotion – through both social media and traditional methods, such as press releases.

How did you get into this line of work? Were there any opportunities that helped you, or any challenges in getting started?
Through my involvement in the FReeZA committee, I was offered a part time cadetship in this area. My previous involvement with the FReeZA enables me to secure the position.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you? How has your involvement helped you to get where you are today?
I have learnt much about life and how to work with other people. This is integral to any workplace environment. My organisational skills have also benefited greatly. In my roles on the FReeZA committee, I have also been required to take on public speaking. I am now a confident public speaker – an invaluable skill which many adults struggle with.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA? What opportunities did you have by working in FReeZA? The FReeZA program has been an ongoing experience over a period of years which I have found particularly beneficial and outstanding – everyone involved has been able to evolve and develop their skills at their own pace – really, the whole program has been great.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Throw yourself in! Don’t worry about speaking up and offering your opinion. Just do it!

What are your aspirations for the future?
I hope to get into Medicine and return to the country area as a general practitioner.
 


steveSteve Beecher (Alexandra FReeZA, Shire of Murrindindi)

Please briefly introduce yourself. What is your name, age, suburb and what FReeZA group are you a part of?
My name is Steve Beecher, an 18 year old living in the little town of Alexandra. Still in Year 12 and with a passion for music, I am part of the Alexandra FReeZA committee.

When did you join FReeZA and how old were you? Why did you join FreeZA?
I only joined FReeZA in the early months of this year. My band, 400 Watts, entered FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands, which caught my interest in the organisation. After talking a little with a couple of friends on the committee, I decided I wanted to be a part of it all, and started attending meetings.

What was/is your role in your FReeZA group? What has working in this role taught you?
Essentially I do a bit of everything with the other guys, which means we’ve all done things such as gear set-up, advertisement design and worked backstage with other bands. The diversity of these roles has developed an appreciation for the different aspects of putting up events, and just generally developed my own business skills and knowledge.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past?
The committee has done pool parties, DJ nights and just recently organised the Murrindindi/Strathbogie Shire’s FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands. Seeing as I haven’t been on board for so long, my main input was in the battle, which went down really well with Melbourne band, Built On Secrets, headlining. From a muso’s point of view, it was awesome to see such an enthusiastic crowd.

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from putting on these events?
Advertising and organisation is the key! I’ve learnt that if an event is to be successful, EVERYBODY needs to know about it. Along with that important point, the committee works really well together, covering everything that needs to be organised.

What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
The pool parties have always been popular: hot weather, water and music. For all the events though, we’ve had a lot of really positive responses.

What other work have you or your group done within the community?
Most of our group is involved in other community based affairs such as the Truck Ute and Rod Show. Myself? I’m fairly busy doing Year 12, though I try to have heavy input in musical events, and hope to get involved with some more of the arts.

What events will your group be organising this year?
I’m certain there will be a pool party or two, along with some more DJ/Hip Hop events and workshops. An aim of ours is to host a day or weekend of a mixture of things including live music, dance/skate comps and other activities.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA?
The stand out benefit is watching as an event we created and organised takes off. It is also awesome to meet other bands, and making friends that you know you will end up jamming or working with sometime down the track.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
Some of us are already set on going into events management and doing sound and lighting with a company we hire quite frequently. I’m sure I’ll end up gigging in the future, maybe still with the help of these guys in the group.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you?
I’ve learned what it takes to get an event to come together, and I’ve met some cool people in the different industries. It’s really motivated me to do more things, and the skills have definitely come in use for other things.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA?
The best experience was being backstage during the FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands, and socialising with the battlers before they went on stage. Seeing all the nerves and confidence before going on stage was cool to see from a different perspective.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Get in there from the get-go! Talk to anyone and everyone. But really, I wouldn’t reverse time; it was all a good experience. Yep, including the mistakes.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Full-time musician sounds good, though realistically I’ll be in the IT industry. Hopefully I’ll still be lurking around backstage in certain events!




michaelMichael Hardinge (Straight To the Pit a.k.a. Maroondah FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Michael Hardinge, I’m currently 17, Live in the small town of Healesville and I’m apart of the Straight To the Pit FReeZA crew in Maroondah.

When and why did you join FReeZA? 
I joined FReeZA At the start of this year, I was 16 at the time. I was talking to a friend at about what I wanted to do as a job in the future, and he heard that EV’s was looking for a new crew for 2012, it was just what I was looking for considering I am very interested in event management this was a perfect opportunity to get a taste of what it was like - So I looked into it and applied to be a part of the crew, and luckily I was accepted!

What is your role in your FReeZA group? What has working in this role taught you?
There are many roles in our FReeZA group, and we all do a bit of everything so everyone has had a chance to get a taste of it all. But in doing that, you get so much more of a better understanding of the music industry in general. This has taught me so much as a whole about the business side of the industry and opened up my knowledge of it all.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past?
The events my FReeZA group has put on in this short amount of time is an amazing effort. So far this year we have had some big names come through the EV’s doors, such as Australian hardcore band Deez Nuts and 2011 X- Factor finalist Declan Sykes, with many more big names to come in the coming months such as House Vs Hurricane. It’s so much fun working with higher profile bands as it just gives you such a great understanding of how some of your favourite bands run their tours behind the scenes.

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from putting on these events?
The amount of stuff I have learnt from putting on some of these events is incredible. My business skills have improved so much, along with other great people skills which I didn’t have a lot of before the program.

What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
The reaction to the events we have put on so far has been insane, we have had great responses from the gigs so far, and such great turnouts!

What other work have you as an individual done in your community?
Outside of the FReeZA group, I’ m a musician and a filmmaker, music is my biggest passion in the world, I have a YouTube channel called MissingMyMind95 where I make drum/full band covers of songs and that is what I do in a lot of my spare time.

What events will your group be organising this year? What would you like to see happen with your FReeZA group (what events would you like to run more of)?
I’m really excited about the events that we have coming up. We are having House Vs Hurricane and some other big names in the Australian scene. I love putting on those sorts of gigs, although it would be so cool to get a big name international band and raise the bar a bit.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA?
The amount of knowledge myself and the whole EV’s crew have got out of the program so far is great. I think we could all go into any part of the music industry as a future job and we would have a head start and a taste of what everything is like thanks to FReeZA.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
It’s hard to tell, FReeZA opens so many doors with endless opportunities, but only time will tell with what happens in the future with myself and the rest of the crew.

How have your past FReeZA experiences helped you?
Past experiences have helped me a lot. It makes you a better person in general, because of FReeZA, my people skills have gone up, I’m a lot more outgoing, and on a business side of the scale it just gives you that little bit more knowledge that you need to be on top of what you’re doing.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA?
One of my best experiences so far with FReeZA is being the stage manager for the huge Deez Nuts show that we put on a few months back. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
Well I definitely would not tell myself to change anything, so far everything has been amazing and mistakes have been a good learning experience, so I would just tell myself to enjoy it as much as you can.

What are your aspirations for the future?
My main goal for the future is to own and operate my own full service music company. Anything from artist management, touring agency, recording studios, publicity agent, photographer all the way through to a record label.



zoeroZoero Theoharou (Soundslike Productions a.k.a. Stonnington FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Zoero Theoharou, I'm 20 and I'm from Soundslike Productions (Stonnington FReeZA).

When and why did you join FReeZA and how old were you?
I joined FReeZA mid-2010 when was18 years old. I joined FReeZA because I wanted to get more involved with the local community and I also wanted to gain some hands on music industry experience.

What is your role in your FReeZA group and what has working in this role taught you?
In Soundslike Productions we don't have individual roles as such, we usually share all the roles. I've dabbled in everything from developing concepts to marketing to band booking and other various roles like stage managing and artist liaising. These roles have taught me many things - such as how to put on successful events and work in a team, and also helped me build my confidence. It's also taught me that what you put in is what you'll get out and to grab hold of every opportunity you can because you never know where it will lead you.

What events has your FReeZA group organised?
Soundslike Productions have organised many events including Phoenix Skate Park Jam, the FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands and Viva Youth Festival. The Battle of the Bands is always good fun to organise and it's interesting seeing the local upcoming talent. Viva Youth Festival is probably considered our major event, a lot of planning and discussion goes into it. Viva Youth Festival is an event run by Stonnington but we run the stage and entertainment side of it, and as the years progress we've become more involved. Unfortunately in the last two years the festival has been rained out (which was disappointing as we had 360 lined up to play at the most recent one), so these circumstances have led us and council to change the date.

Can you describe what you've learnt from putting on these events?
I've learnt many things from putting on these events. Basic things like developing a concept early on and giving enough time to plan for an event is very important.

What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
The community has been very supportive and all are events have been well attended.

What events will your group be organising this year?
We are currently organising the upcoming FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands. Our FReeZA group is quite structured in terms of the events we run. Most of our events happen annually; e.g. Battle of the Bands, Phoenix Skate Park Jam and Viva. Later his year we are also planning on having our first metal gig, which should be very interesting as most of our events are indie and hip-hop based.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA?
It's a great way to stay connected and work with other young people with similar goals. It's really rewarding seeing an event come together after all the planning, and it opens up so many doors. We're like a little family, we all learn off each other and have different views and ways of going about things.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
I think FReeZA is a fantastic program, it's already given other committee members and myself the opportunity to work on festivals and within the music industry in paid roles.

Where do you work?
I currently work at a music venue (Palace Theatre) in the cloak room and on the floor, but I've recently also been given the chance to work in the office of the venue doing administration. There are endless amounts of festivals I've worked on. Some of my favourites include; Push Over, Soundwave, Moomba and Harvest.

How did you get into this line of work?
It all started when I was in early high school. I'd attend local FReeZA gigs and loved them. From there on I got involved in community radio where my main objective was to promote local young talent by playing their music and organising interviews. After high school I started getting more involved with music and joined FReeZA and began volunteering on festivals, and then also decided to study music business. From then on, with hard work and a great deal of networking my passion and opportunities just grew.

Are you participating in any type of mentoring program at the moment?
I have recently been selected as a mentee as part of The Push - Music Industry Mentoring Program. The program has just started up and I have been placed with Chris O'Brien from Soundwave. So far it's going well.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you?
It's all about networking, experience and opportunities. Those are the key words and concepts. FReeZA has given me hands on experience, the chance to network and has opened so many doors.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA?
I think being involved in FReeZA as a whole is outstanding.

What are your aspirations for the future?
In the future I'd ultimately like to be working full time within the Industry and/or running my own touring/events company. I think I'm definitely on my way there; it's just a matter of continuing to network, developing more skills and taking up every opportunity that comes my way.



Jarrod Zdrzalka (Coastal Productions, Surf Coast Shire FReeZA)

Please briefly introduce yourself. What is your name, age, suburb and what FReeZA group are you a part of?
Jarrod Zdrzalka, Youth Development Officer at Surf Coast Shire for nearly 3 years.  I am in my 30s, you have to guess which end of the scale I am!  Our offices are based in beautiful Torquay, with our shire stretching down the coast to Lorne and inland to Winchelsea and Moriac. I assist the Coastal Productions FReeZA committee, which we have sub committees of based around the Shire. Currently we have a Lorne Division, Torquay Division, and a Street Art Division. I cover a bit of ground!

When did you join FReeZA and how old were you? Why did you join FReeZA?
The FReeZA program is in my portfolio with my role as a Youth Development Officer, as above, come May 2012 have been in this role for 3 years.  I really enjoy working alongside young people; they are inspiring with their creativity.  I am learning from them all the time

What was/is your role in your FReeZA group? What has working in this role taught you?
I recruit members, assist young people in delivering events/programs manage administration, research, resources, manage our PA equipment, etc.  I look at myself as the gopher for the young people.  Look for new ideas, different options to present to the committees and see what they come up with.  I am always pleasantly surprised at the end result.

What events have your FReeZA group organised in the past? Please describe some events that you worked on.
The biggest undertaking for Coastal Productions was definitely last year putting on Concrete Audio, a multi-arts youth festival.  Our first large scale festival incorporating; live bands, DJs, a street art mural, short film comp and BMX/skate comps all in one day.  Running four events in one day with separate workshops leading up to the festival was huge and a great result. Amongst that, we have hosted pool parties, band nights, ramp jams & event support.  

Can you describe what you’ve learnt from putting on these events? What are some things that worked well, and what didn’t work well?
Planning, planning and planning. Also, I am no expert any particular field. So I find it imperative to surround myself with experts in areas of interest all things FReeZA.  This allows me to deliver good outcomes for my committees of young people. If they have an interest in areas such as street art or multi media, then I have my 'go to’ experts to annoy!!
  
What has been the community’s reaction to your events?
I think with each FReeZA/youth worker, young people need to take time to accept or approve of you, so it has taken a while to get a solid committee and then the committee to build a reputation for putting on quality events.  Over this time I have made sure I have been consistent in my approach with young people involved in any Coastal Productions venture.  From this, the community is starting to know that these young people are passionate and committed to put on their FReeZA events. 

What other work has your group done within the community? What other work have you as an individual done in your community?
Last year, the crew was asked to give event support to the Rip Curl Pro Civic Reception by running their PA.  It was a high profile event with technical challenges ahead of them, running sound to two different rooms for public speaking, plus one of the young people were asked to play live in the foyer as guests arrived.

What events will your group be organising this year? What would you like to see happen with your FReeZA group (what events would you like to run more of)?
As highlighted earlier, I have a few groups of young people dotted across the Shire repping the Coastal Productions committee.  With that there are a number of ages and interests.  Currently some young people are planning a disco/dance party in Torquay and some live sound training for the more senior committee members that run our PA. There is some interest in hosting a skate/BMX series across the Shire, so we will have a look at that later in the year.

What do you and the other members get out of being in FReeZA? Why is FReeZA a good group to be a part of?
The energy and ideas the young people come up with is contagious, they really are a creative bunch.  The FReeZA program allows young people to expand on their interests with support of an organisation behind them. When committee members are asking for community/industry support, it does give them some validity in what they are asking for.

Where do you think FReeZA might lead you or your committee members in the future?
I know that each project/committee will always bring something different to the table every time. We have never done the same thing twice which makes it fun.

What work do you now do? What is your role? Please provide some examples of what work (or events) you have worked on in your current role.
I am currently working on National Youth Week Street Art Project which has a Youthbeyondblue focus.  It makes the young people works towards a topic which challenges them. It has also started some great and informal conversations about mental health. Pool parties & dance parties, when we generally put on bands.

How did you get into this line of work? Were there any opportunities that helped you, or any challenges in getting started?
As long as I can remember, I have always worked alongside young people, professionally through my employment or personally through coaching mountain biking.

How have your past FReeZA / Push experiences helped you? How has your involvement helped you to get where you are today?
FReeZA has allowed me to support young people in our area at the grass roots level.  As a starting point, it has been great to hear young people that have gone through the FReeZA program to continue their own dreams.  Member of bands such as King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have started in our FReeZA program, who recently played at Big Day Out.

Were there any outstanding experiences that you had while working with FReeZA? What opportunities did you have by working in FReeZA, Push and FReeZA Central? Knowledge is power!!  Greg at Office for Youth is awesome at guiding you in the right direction and offering advice.  And what can you say about the staff at The Push. If they don’t know the answer to your question, it’s not worth asking. The world needs more organisations like The Push. Passionate, friendly and helpful, you can’t go wrong.

If you could reverse time to when you first joined FReeZA, what advice would you have for yourself?
I would not want any advice from myself, as I think it is all a part of the journey to learn as you go.  I have enjoyed all of it.  I have never been afraid to try new ideas out and that has definitely worked.  I will keep going with philosophy.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Keep it real!!!  Keep listening to the young people because they have way better ideas than I do.  Let them own it!  Have fun on the way.


 

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