VIDEO: Softys aiming to provide fertile ground to grow Newcastle all-age music scene

NEW DIRECTION: India and the Journey To The East headlined the first all-age music night held at Softys Clubhouse last week. Picture: Brontë Godden
NEW DIRECTION: India and the Journey To The East headlined the first all-age music night held at Softys Clubhouse last week. Picture: Brontë Godden

THE Newcastle all-age music scene is growing again.

With Growing Pains Music Collective, that is.

On June 1 the freshly-launched project held it’s first show at Softys Clubhouse in Islington, headlined by folk rockers India and The Journey To The East as they unveiled their new single Abundantina.

Band leader India Seddon-Callaghan co-manages Growing Pains with fellow Newcastle TAFE music business student Ethan Wilcock and the partnership with not-for-profit association, Softys Clubhouse, aims to provide an outlet for young musicians and fans.

Last week’s show attracted 150 punters and plans are underway to bring Melbourne gypsy band Hello Tut Tut to the Maitland Road venue on July 7. 

“We thought it was about time we put our heads together and organised something,” Seddon-Callaghan says.

There are also plans to use the Softys space as an avenue for promoting independent music. 

Growing Pains hope to hold their own market concurrently with the monthly Newcastle & Hunter Vietnam Veterans Market held across the road in Wickham Park.

India Seddon-Callaghan - Abundantina

Other Newcastle music collectives, such as No-Fi and Boys Don’t Cry, would be invited to sell their music and merchandise at the market, which would also feature live performances and art.

“I really want a community feel where we get all the all-ages or independent music labels in Newcastle and incorporate them in what we’re doing at Softys,” Seddon-Callaghan says.

“I want to be able to support them as well, because I feel there can be a definite line between different labels and we’re all up against each other.

“But I want to break that and make sure we’re all supporting each other.” 

We thought it was about time we put our heads together and organised something.

India Seddon-Callaghan

Finding alternative options for under-age music has become a hot topic since the closure of The Commons at Hamilton’s Fellowship House last November, after Newcastle City Council ruled it failed to comply with regulations to operate as an live venue.

It followed the closure of The Loft in 2013 due to council budget restraints and fellow all-age venue Drone shut its doors in 2016 after noise complaints.

Venues like The Dungeon at the Adamstown Uniting Church have also since started hosting popular all-age music nights.

Despite being 18, Seddon-Callaghan remains a passionate advocate for under-age venues.

She has been performing regularly since she was 15, as a soloist or in bands, at venues like The Commons.

“I loved The Commons and was part of that for ages and I was helping people out organising gigs, but when that got out of hand I thought we definitely need another space,” she says.

“We need a safer space with better organisation and a safety crew and that’s what we’ve done at Softys.”