Organisers of the larger events felt there was a gap in music experiences for young people, so they gathered together a community of musicians, artists, technicians and event managers to mentor a group of teens.
'This year's first program was hugely successful. Our mentors were beyond proud of this group of kids who only knew each other for a couple days and performed in sync—better than some bands who have been together for years. The connection they had to the music and each other was palpable,' said Erin Sattler, from Dashville.
'Just seeing them on the final day performing in front of the festival crowd left us speechless and in no doubt the program was a success. The experience transformed them into confident performers smashing it out on stage in front of a couple of thousand people.'
After this year's success, the team from Dashville aim to continue to provide a dedicated teens a hands on learning experience in a live festival environment through Young Gums.
'The teen years is when we all mostly find a deep personal connection to music, and to share this outlet with other people is amazing. These experiences can be a bit hard to come by in regional and remote areas, and even harder in the last 18 months with COVID-19 restrictions.
'Community connection is important for young people now more than ever, particularly in regional areas, where mental health concerns are on the rise.
'There is a need for rural and regional youth to find like-minded peers through programs such as Young Gums that encourage, foster and connect young musicians with live performance experience and industry contacts.'
The hope is that Young Gums can extend its reach through rural and remote Australia.
'Ultimately we'd love to create regional and rural creative hubs, spreading out into the bush, particularly for those who find it hard to participate in events like this due to the distance and cost of travel.'
The program is funded through our Festivals Australia program, which gives community members living in regional or remote Australia the chance to participate in events like the Young Gums program.