Potato a mash hit with help

Darren Percival will give tips on vocals as part of this year’s Mullum Music Festival youth mentorship program.
Darren Percival will give tips on vocals as part of this year’s Mullum Music Festival youth mentorship program.

POTATO Potato were thrust on stage at last year's Mullum Music Festival - and loved it.

The Byron Bay band had barely finished their first gig when they were given the opportunity to play the festival as a result of the mentorship program.

Merryn Boller, singer and guitarist, said it was the best gig they've had.

The Byron band was mentored by the Triple J-unearthed Melbourne folk band Husky before their set.

"They told us little things that you might not think about," Ms Boller said.

"Like remembering to tune up before you go on stage and talking to the sound guy. Just making sure there's good communication."

And while being introduced by Husky added extra excitement to the band's festival debut, it's what happened after that has really helped Potato Potato.

"They invited us to support them in Byron soon after that gig and it's been good because they've been showing us to other musicians and saying they'd help if we ever head down to Melbourne," she said.

This year the Mullum Music Festival is running the mentorship program with accomplished musicians including Darren Percival, members of Tinpan Orange Jesse and Emily Lubitz, Joe Robinson, Danielle Caruana (Mama Kin) and Melia and Nerida Naughton (Scarlett Affection) in the mentoring roles.

Tom Whitaker, a teacher at Cape Byron Steiner, facilitates the program for the festival and has been thrilled with the success of the previous two years' programs.

"We've had good feedback from the artists as well as the applicants," he said.

"The artists have enjoyed the freshness of the young musicians who have so much enthusiasm and energy - which is nice after they've been on tour for a while."

Mr Whitaker said mentorships gave new artists a leg up.

"It's more of a development process where we help young artists who are already doing shows, but helping them establish a pathway into a new business model," he said.

Entries in this year's mentorship program are open for musicians aged under 19-years at

Topics:  byron bay lismore mullum music festival

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