John Schumann to revisit Kangaroo Island for Anzac Day concert

AN HONOUR: John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew have been invited back to entertain the community. John, right, is pictured during his last visit with Brigadier Damien Cantwell AM.
AN HONOUR: John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew have been invited back to entertain the community. John, right, is pictured during his last visit with Brigadier Damien Cantwell AM.

A return trip by entertainer John Schumann is planned for this year's ANZAC evening, April 25, when he will perform with his band the Vagabond Crew together with a handful of local stars on Kangaroo Island.

Schumann last landed on the Island on a special day which took place shortly after the fires in February last year.

During his visit, the musician was joined by the impressive Australian Defence Force band as they performed at Parndana oval to perform for the KI community.

On that day in February, the Kangaroo Island Black Summer bushfires had just been declared 'safe' to the community.

It meant a time where the Islanders came together to hug, share their unique stories and tears and also take a deep breath before facing the long road of recovery and rebuild.

Now, a little more than a year later, John and the Vagabond Crew have been invited back by former head of Recovery office Rob Manton, plus a group of community leaders, to help entertain the community once again.

This time they perform a little further west in the heart of the fire scar at the severely affected "Club in the Scrub".

The Western Districts Memorial and Community Sports Centre will host the musicians.

This event follows the Jamie Larcombe Memorial Medal game.

Importantly, members look forward to hosting their very first weekend back for winter sport.

Western Districts have not been able to host the junior football competition last year on their home grounds since the fires, so this specially dedicated weekend will be another step back to normality for the west end community, which they are extremely happy and excited about.

The club is still battling with a lack of infrastructure but like all islanders, known for their resilience, this concert will be an example of locals moving forward, getting on with it and making things work.

Many members of the community are still on their long road to recovery and have not had a real break from clean up and rebuild, which truly warrants the concert.

Once Rob Manton's team had been approached by fire-affected community leaders to recreate last year's special concert, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet helped to facilitate the organisation of this important event by and for the community.

A big thanks goes out to the funding sources which includes the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation, Rotary Australian Districts, Junction Australia and the Australian Red Cross.

The event has received further support from the Sealink, Western Kangaroo Island Lions, Kangaroo Island Council and Western Districts.

Everyone on the island is invited to attend these special football and netball matches, the first ones after the fires and since COVID 19 cancelled the senior season completely last year.

In a lead up to the evening event, the Reserves game starts at 1.30pm followed by the ANZAC ceremonial events with the A Grade to kick off from 3.30pm.

Straight after the game, the Jamie Larcombe Memorial Medal (the 23rd Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan), to ensure his memory lives on, will be presented to the best on ground.

Following this, the locals will take the stage at about 5.45pm to warm up the crowd ready for John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew to up the crescendo of the day.

Organisers hope the entire island will come along and enjoy this community event which is free to attend.

Please don't be shy to donate a little though for support.

The club still needs more funding to achieve its goal of new club room facilities to service the west end community.

Donations are most welcome and you can also support the club by purchasing food and beverages on the day. Popular Tru Thai and Cuppa Joey will be among the other catering options available.

Guests are asked to consider that the venue is still getting back on its feet and power, facilities and shelter may be limited.

Therefore, the organisers suggest visitors bring their own gear to keep warm and dry, and bring cash. Eftpos is unavailable, remember to take your rubbish with you and buy your food and drink at the venue - as there is no BYO.

So, let's get together as a community, have some fun, dance, sing and laugh, and share hugs like we did during the last concert.

This is a great way to celebrate the successes we already had in the last 15 months and to be proud of the achievements of so many in our community who were hard hit since.

Please bring your children, your grandma, your mates, and anyone near and dear to you and head to the western end, on Sunday, April 25 and enjoy this community event on ANZAC Day from 5.45pm onwards.

The event will be located at 6481 Playford Highway at Gosse.

Report from Feb 2020:

Legendary singer John Schumann knows a little bit about supporting the ADF having done at least five entertainment tours in locations as far away as Afghanistan.

A regular visitor to KI, first at Penneshaw and now at Island Beach, he said he did not hesitate when asked to perform on Kangaroo Island.

The last time he played on Kangaroo Island was at the service of Sapper Jamie Larcombe at the Western District sports ground after he was killed in action in Afghanistan.

He acknowledged Sapper Larcombe's sacrifice during his performance and said he would never forget this connection to KI.

He said he wrote 'I was only 19' based on his brother-in-law's experiences with 6RAR in Vietnam.

He said the Army did a flawless job setting up the concert and said it was a privilege to perform here.

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