"The Cruel Sea’s return to the stage after ten years was a joyful triumph."
The inaugural Wild Aid fundraiser, held on Byron Bay over the weekend, raised more than $100,000 for the area’s Wildlife Hospital. The music and charity event was held at The Green Room on the Bluesfest site.
Some of the heavy hitters who performed at Wild Aid were The Cruel Sea and Adalita, while Indigenous leader Delta Kay hosted a Welcome To Country, local acts Jez Mead and Loose Content hit the stage, and comedian Arj Barker MC’d the event.
Thanks to ticket sales (from over 1,000 attendees), donations, merch sales, donated food and beverages, as well as a live auction, the first-ever local event raised an impressive amount of money.
The auction included prizes such as a signed surfboard and guitar from the performing artists, wildlife paintings, an all-expenses paid holiday to the Maldives and a private whisky night with The Cruel Sea’s/The (Aussie) Man In Black, Tex Perkins.
Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop also showed his support, sending a three-minute video alongside his Moluccan cockatoo Biggy Pop (Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital’s Founding Patron). “We need public support to keep saving wildlife while we work to persuade the government to restore the $6 million, four-year funding plan they announced, then revoked,” Iggy said before welcoming The Cruel Sea to the stage.
“I am humbled and in awe of how many beautiful humans I was surrounded by on Saturday night at Wild Aid,” Perkins said in a press release.
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He continued, “Everything came together with a profound beauty full of heart, joy, love, laughter, humanity, community and some incredible music! The Cruel Sea’s return to the stage after ten years was a joyful triumph. People came not only to help us support an incredible organisation but to support us – the music makers - and encourage us to do our very best.”
The Green Room owner and Bluesfest founder Peter Noble commented, “The Green Room was pleased to be able to support Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital by hosting the benefit concert Wild Aid.
“One of the things that became clear to us through working on Wild Aid was that many in our community are unaware that the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital receives zero funding!
“That means that every dollar they make from any source is put toward healing injured wildlife. Anything you do, whether attending Wild Aid or donating directly, helps save our local injured wildlife from death. It is that simple, and it is that serious.
“Congratulations, [founder and CEO of the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital] Stephen Van Mil and the team. What you're doing is the work that Australia needs. Since you've opened, you've rescued and cared for wildlife in the thousands. Let's all be sure to support you.”
Commenting on the success of the occasion, Dr Van Mil added, “We are deeply grateful to Tex, all of the performers, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble and his hardworking team at The Green Room, and all the sponsors, supporters and patrons who made the night an extraordinary experience.”
Van Mil explained that the funds will go to the expert treatment needed to save over 170 wildlife patients.