Australia’s musicians, comedians and entertainers have banded together in a push to get the nation vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Vax the Nation initiative has released a nostalgia-driven ad campaign, headed up by The Gruen Transfer panellist Russel Howcroft, involving Australia’s most popular bands and performers.
The TV advert features crowds at music festivals and concerts, moshing and singing to Powderfinger’s 2000 anthem My Happiness.
But the emotive scenes are jarringly interrupted, right before the beloved chorus, by coronavirus headlines and announcements.
Mushroom Group boss Matt Gudinski told The Australian it was an effective creative decision to frustrate the listener by cutting before the hook.
“It’s a fantastic choice to capture people’s attention, and I think the lyrics and the feeling of the song connects well with the message we’re trying to get out there,” Gudinski said.
“The only way out of this for the live sector is vaccination.”
Variations of the advert have flooded social media, featuring Aussie stars like Cub Sport and Tim Minchin, driving home the message that fans have the power to “stop the interruptions” by getting the jab.
The Vax the Nation campaign is a collaborative effort by more than 400 heavy hitters in the entertainment industry, according to its website.
More than 220 Australian artists, including Jimmy Barnes, Eskimo Joe, Amy Shark, The Angels, Archie Roach and Paul Kelly have all signed on.
Big name music promoters and comedy producers, venues, festival organisers, record labels, streaming platforms, theatre companies and others who rely on live entertainment are also involved.
- You can see a full list of artists and supporters here
Comedian-songwriter Tim Minchin posted an edit of the ad to Twitter with a reminder of how “blessed” Australians are to live in a “wealthy, healthy, educated and harmonious” country.
“This is a time when we need to pull together for the common good, so we can get back to living the vibrant and outdoorsy and creative and communal lives we love to live,” Minchin wrote.
Brisbane band Cub Sport wrote a similar callout to fans to get the shot as soon as possible.
“We wanna encourage our fans to get vaccinated, to help breathe life back into the music industry so we can come together to experience the magic of live shows again,” they wrote.
Fellow Brisbanits The Jungle Giants have reiterated the call to action as an opportunity to bring the community together to fight the virus.
“Music and events bring people together, COVID-19 pulls people apart. Let’s not let it win. It’s time to say goodbye to uncertainty. Don’t procrastinate, vaccinate,” the band said.
Fans and followers have been quick to respond to their favourite artists, with the campaign hashtag trending on Twitter early on Monday.
Not everyone was pleased with the move, but artists have stood their ground – sometimes ending in humorous exchanges with the public.
Sydney punk rock band Frenzal Rhomb shared the Powderfinger ad to Twitter with a rowdy caption urging fans to trust scientists, if not the police, because scientists “invented drugs!”
“Having little faith in cops or the government is nothing new but come on, you’ve gotta trust scientists. They invented drugs! We can’t wait to play our pro-science anthems to our sweaty, drunk and unhygienic crowd as soon as we can,” the band wrote.
But an irritated follower replied to their tweet asking why entertainers “always have to get political”, saying it ruined their art for “half” of the audience.
The band has courted its share of controversy over its political opinions and explicit lyrics since forming in 1992, and quickly responded, “I know. Never would have guessed Frenzal would be political”.
But comedian Tom Ballard voted singer-songwriter Jen Cloher’s call to action as “the best”, after Cloher wrote: “Vaccinations are a gateway drug to live concerts.”