Sydney band elevated to Life at Altitude

Published 19 April 2011

willA schoolboy band from south-west Sydney has won an invitation to perform beside some of the brightest young stars of Australian rock music at the university city of Armidale’s inaugural Life at Altitude festival.

Receiving the full rock-star treatment, Will and the Indians will be flown to Armidale in a private jet, and will perform on a festival program that includes Little Red, Children Collide, Operator Please, and Amy Meredith.

Organised by the University of New England, Life at Altitude is a celebration of university education and student lifestyle in Australia’s highest city. UNE’s annual Open Day on Friday 6 May will be followed the next day by a program of live band performances, a lunch featuring the best of local New England food, and much more.

Arran Airs, Marketing Manager at UNE, said the standard of entries in the “Elevation Band Search” competition had been very high, with bands from as far afield as southern Sydney and the far North Coast of NSW lodging entries in the form of a YouTube video link.

indiansWill and the Indians comprises Will Thackeray (guitar and vocals) and Michael Watson (bass guitar) from Magdalene Catholic High School, Narellan, and Kabir Bhalla (guitar) and Matin Gouniai (drums) from Elderslie High School, Camden. (The four band members are pictured in the photographs on this page.)

Mr Airs said that the festival organisers were excited about having such a talented young band on the program, and about the opportunities that this event might open for the band’s future career. When informing them of their success, he told the band members that their VIP passes to the festival would enable them to meet some of the rock-music celebrities on the program.

Speaking at the launch of Life at Altitude earlier this month, UNE’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, emphasised that university life in Armidale involved the city as well as the University. “The message is that if you choose to come to UNE you’ll have the whole town there to welcome you,” he said. “We offer you not just a qualification but a way of life.” And as for “altitude”: “We’ll help you rise to heights you didn’t know you were capable of,” he said.

The Armidale Dumaresq Mayor, Councillor Peter Ducat, said that Armidale was “proud to be a university city” and “proud to be involved in Life at Altitude”.