21 April 2022

Young Yass Valley region musicians invited to Howl at the Moon

| Sally Hopman
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Boy strolling in field

Murrumbateman musician Max McGrath is part of the team behind Howl at the Moon this Saturday in Yass. Photo: Supplied.

When young Yass Valley musicians play their hearts out for a chance at fame this Saturday (23 April), Max McGrath hopes it will change some lives – including his.

The Murrumbateman musician, 20, is one of the minds behind Howl at the Moon, a live music event at Yass’ Thyme to Taste.

The hybrid deli, bottleshop and cafe on the main street of Yass has invited young musicians to try out for a spot on the line-up of a massive concert in the town later this year.

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“I’ve been a musician for about eight years now, singing at wineries in Murrumbateman and Yass and in cafes, but there really isn’t a lot for young musicians around here,” Max says.

“We’ve had to go into Canberra for gigs and not everyone can do that.

“I’ve always been passionate about music but until now, I’ve only played the sort of music people want to hear, like folk songs and country covers on an acoustic guitar.”


Howl at the Moon poster. Image: Supplied.

Max said events like Howl at the Moon go a long way to giving young, out-of-town musicians their chance to shine.

Yass businessman and passionate musician Keith Rosario, YASSarts president Al Phemister, co-ordinator Sophie Peer from Trader and Co cafe, band promoter and manager Chad Croker and Max are the event organisers.

They are behind a move to bring more live music to regional areas like Yass and, importantly, provide young musicians with the opportunity to perform in front of large, live crowds with professional lighting and sound equipment.

“We came up with the genesis of this plan about a year ago, but COVID got in the way,” Keith said.

“I just love the idea of encouraging young people here to express themselves and music is one of the best ways to do that.”

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Max said Saturday’s event and the subsequent concert in Yass later this year had inspired a shift from his musical comfort zone to play what was closest to his heart. He has written originals but, up until now, lacked the confidence to perform them in public.

Guitar player

Max in action. Photo: Supplied.

“I would play acoustic music because that’s what the audiences out here wanted. But with Howl at the Moon and the big concert coming up, I’ve decided to finally let my own work see the light of day. It’s something that’s really exciting for me,” he says.

“I’ve always preferred rock and alternative music, but if you want to get gigs, you have to play what people want.

“With this, I can now play what I want. I finally get to express myself and be true to the sort of music I’m passionate about.

“I put a lot of myself into my music, so it can make you feel vulnerable, but I think it’s important to do it, and I hope others do, too.”

Bands and musicians from Yass, Murrumbateman and Gundaroo have already signed up for Saturday’s try-outs at Thyme to Taste, but the team is keen for more to turn up on the day.

“We’ve got the message out by word of mouth but we would like to encourage more people to come on Saturday,” Keith said. “It won’t exactly be open mics but it’s a gig and we encourage everyone to come along.”

The event has also been organised as part of Youth Week 2022 and supported by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation’s Headspace, Southern Tablelands Arts and the Yass Valley Council.

Howl at the Moon kicks off at 11 am at Thyme to Taste in Yass this Saturday (23 April).

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