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World Comes To Nanango To Play

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Jane Erkens at The Shed in Nanango … everyone is welcome to come along to the Friday night get-togethers for musicians, or to enjoy shows put on by a range of international performers

June 8, 2018

Tucked away at the end of a laneway in Nanango is one of the South Burnett’s hidden gems … a home to local and visiting musicians, some of whom have travelled vast distances to share their talents with local residents.

“The Shed” is located – as the name suggests – in a converted shed in Little Drayton Street (just up from the Scott car park).

It is the brainchild of local businesswoman and folk music enthusiast Jane Erkens who was eager to find a place where local musos could meet, chat and play music together.

“It started as just somewhere to go and play, for people to come down and socialise without going to a pub,” she said.

Then in 2016, she was contacted on social media by Port Macquarie-based guitarist Mat Brooker who asked Jane if she would be interested in him playing a house concert.

“Can you sell 20 tickets for $20?” he asked.

She was, she did … and that was the start of The Shed becoming a mini-music venue as word spread in folk music circles.

“I’m now getting a lot of messages on Facebook,” Jane admitted.

Last year, The Shed played host to “Irish Royalty” … Dublin-based singer songwriter Eleanor McEvoy – who wrote “Only A Woman’s Heart”, the title track of the best-selling Irish album of all time.

Eleanor paid a visit to Nanango on her way to the Woodford Folk Festival.

“We sold 65 tickets for $20 in just three days,” Jane said.

The Shed has also hosted Manx folk, blues and jazz singer Christine Collister, as well as artists from London, Serbia, Toronto, Montreal, Newfoundland and Denmark who have all trekked their way to the small lane in Nanango.

Whenever someone is available, Jane will open the doors of The Shed for another impromptu house concert, providing an opportunity for Nanango residents to enjoy performances which they would otherwise have to travel many hundreds of kilometres to see.

“It’s a hobby for me,” Jane said.

“Tickets are always $20 and most of the money goes back to the performers, which is another reason why they like coming here.”

Some of the takings have also been used to upgrade equipment at The Shed, which now has a better sound system and lighting.

Jane says The Shed has also added dollars to the local economy.

“Last Saturday we had two bands from Brisbane playing: Swampfish and The Hinterlanders,” Jane said.

“We had about 80 people at the concert and then about 50 people followed us up after the gig to the Palace Hotel for an after-party.

“A number of people came from different places as the bands have a following. People came from Brisbane, Esk and Gympie as well as Kingaroy, Blackbutt and Maidenwell.

“Some stayed at the Palace and at the Homestead Caravan Park.”

But the heartbeat of The Shed is still the regular get-together on Friday nights by local musicians.

“Every Friday we have a music gathering. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in,” Jane said.

“It is all-acoustic and is a ‘sharing’ of music, not a ‘performance’ of music.”

At 6:00pm, local ukelele players meet, and they are joined at 7:30pm by other musicians.

Players have come from as far away as Booubyjan and Proston to join in these Friday night jam sessions.

“We never know who is going to turn up, or what sort of music we will end up playing,” Jane said.

The next big gig at The Shed will occur next Thursday (June 14) when American guitarist and raconteur Richard Gilewitz will be returning at 7:00pm.

The $20 tickets are available at Nanango Real Estate in Drayton Street.

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Serbian / UK performers Faith I Branko at The Shed in March this year. The group specialises in “Serbian Balkan Gypsy Roma” music.

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