WAMFest 2018 features a special event, as the team from the Canon Ball take over two stages at The Court Hotel. In the lead up to the event, Around The Sound spoke to the originators of the Canon Ball, Addison Axe and Vanessa Thornton.
The first Canon Ball happened at Fremantle’s Buffalo Club on 10 March this year. If asked, I would struggle to think of a gig that I’ve attended where the atmosphere was more welcoming, the sense of unity between bands and audience was greater and the smiles on people’s dials were bigger. The Canon Ball was a salve for the wounds of a world weary of division — between genders, between cultures, between countries. It was a uniting experience that left people wanting more.
The Canon Ball is happening again. This time at WAMFest, over two stages at The Court Hotel on Saturday 3 November. To let you know what to expect, Around The Sound spoke to Vanessa Thornton (Jebediah, Axe Girl, Tommyhwaks) and Addison Axe (Axe Girl, Tommyhawks), who founded the festival.
“The Canon Ball is an event put on by a collective of like-minded people reflecting all genders and identities. It’s a celebration of female creativity, a carnival of the arts. We welcome everyone,” says Thornton.
We’re really lucky that WAM (WA Music Industry Association) have let us run these stages for WAMFest, it’s great to have their support for this. And The Court is a great venue, the performance spaces and the sound and lighting are just about the best in Perth.
“Yes! That’s it!” adds Axe. “The Canon Ball puts on events where you can be just whoever you are, learn about other ways of being and have an awesome time while doing it. We just want people to have a good time, you know, and to see what women can do in the music industry. Not just the performers, but in all parts of the industry, staging, sound, lighting, security…everything it takes to put on a successful event. And we want people to see it done in an ethical way, to be part of an event that tries to look after the environment as well as people.”
Thornton agrees, “That’s what we’re all about, having a good time, being good at what we do and doing good things.”
We’re all about goodness.” Thornton says this last bit with her trademark wicked grin, while Axe just full on laughs. They revel in their goodness, but they’re not aspiring to sainthood. The Canon Ball is wicked fun.
“Yup, at the end of the day, we just want people to have fun,” Thornton adds. “The bands at the Canon Ball, they’re not all women, but there’s at least 50 percent women in the bands, they’re female led. It’s important to us to have that balance. This isn’t about the gender divide, it’s about bringing people together and showing how the music industry really is. There’s always been women in the industry, but we’ve been under represented a lot of the time, particularly on festival line ups. I suppose, if we’re trying to put anything right, it’s showing that balance, and giving everyone a chance to see the awesome talent that women bring to music.”
“Yes!” Axe adds, “We want to run a festival that shows things how they really are. That’s all. We want to showcase all genders, all ways of being and the talent that people often miss out on, because there is still a bias towards males in music. Not always, and things are changing, but there’s plenty still to be done.”
“And we want people so see the talent, to have a great time. Have we said that yet?” Thornton is smiling again and the partners in crime break into uproarious laughter. They’re deadly serious, but they also get a giant kick out of what they’re doing with the Canon Ball.
WAMFest 2018 is a showcase of the massive talent that is the WA music industry. Massive not only in numbers of artists and bands, but in the quality of original music that is generated across the state. With free events taking place in regional areas as well as across Perth over 2 and 3 November, there’s a lot to take in. We don’t really like to get all preachy here at Around The Sound, but WAMFest is one event you should take in.
Even it you don’t go to any other live music events this year, make some time for WAMFest. You will be richly rewarded.
If you only get to one WAMFest event, and you really should go to more, make it the Canon Ball. Having been to the first one back in March, we guarantee you’ll have a great time. Here’s the line up:
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A bit more about the Canon Ball from the organisers
We chose the name The Canon Ball because we want people to have the opportunity to be exposed to artists that are the genuine article, at the peak of their creative powers. That’s the canon part and, of course, ball, because we want everyone who comes to have the best time, to have a ball.
The Canon Ball showcases women from different cultures, ages and walks of life and welcomes all identities, and genders to join together to rejoice and revel in the arts and creativity.
In a time when the politics of gender have become confusing and excluding of some identities and orientations, we aim to showcase and celebrate the best of female creativity to the whole world. Come one come all and join us in this celebration.