Dress Up Attack! is not your average family day out
When renowned provocateurs Regurgitator played their rejigged song 'I Sucked A Lollipop To Get Where I Am' at the 2013 instalment of Dress Up Attack!, they pretty much summed up the essence of the fledgling event.
It’s not your average kids show. But it’s not your average music festival either.
It’s a day of shared experiences that both parents and kids can honestly enjoyLisa Barbagallo
For the uninitiated, Dress Up Attack! is a concert series for kids and their parents, which brings seriously credible indie musicians – both local and international – together to perform songs that will appeal to everyone.
Lisa Barbagallo started the event in 2012 after a number of music industry interactions that made her believe the event had an audience.
“It was more of a slow awakening than a light bulb moment,” she says.
“I was at Coachella in 2006, touring with my partner’s band. I was pregnant and dragging our jet-lagged three-year-old around.
"It was sunny, the grass was green, everyone was happy. Danny DeVito high-fived the kid and I side of stage. It was fun! And so, so different to actual kids entertainment, yet the whole family loved that day.
“Working at Homebake, I noticed an increasing number of people bringing their babies along. Just because your mates are there and you want to hang out and see bands too.”
Some of this year’s acts tell Double J they had no hesitation in accepting the offer to play.
“We were thrilled,” Patience Hodgson of The Grates says. “We've wanted to play it for a while, it just seems like fun.”
I don’t really think we need to change our songs much. We're Custard, not Pink Floyd.Glenn Thompson, Custard
The prospect of playing for the youngest members of their own families is a big part of the appeal.
“Kids are mental and now we have a kid, so it's gonna be super cool getting to play for her,” Hodgson says.
“My grandson can come and watch Pop play,” says Custard’s Glenn Thompson.
But this is no regular gig. Swearing is off the table, and kids can be tough to please. But neither Custard nor The Grates are worried about how their regular shows will translate.
“No swearing, and toning back the volume a bit,” Hodgson says of their altered preparations. “That's it. I think every other part of our regular set will translate nicely for small people.”
“I don’t really think we need to change our songs much,” Thompson says. “We're Custard, not Pink Floyd.
“Nic Dalton has suggested we play ‘C is for Cookie’. It's a good idea, we'll see what happens.”
The event is still in its infancy (pun intended), but has already delivered a stack of highlights thanks to some unique and clever performances.
“Regurgitator in 2014; I knew they’d be fun but they were so incredibly perfect for the kids and the adults,” Barbagallo says. “There were literally babies being thrown in the air (safely I’m sure). We had Justine Clarke that year as well. She was so great. I loved Regurgitator and Justine as a co-headline.”
“For Vivid Live this year Levins brought his Goodgod ‘90s club in. He handed out glow sticks and the kids went crazy. It was hilarious.
“The Presets DJing in 2015. It was so low key yet so outstanding. It’s what Dress Up Attack! is all about, really. Having quality performances available for everyone.
“Paint What You Hear always has some great moments. The kids respond to live music with paint and crayons, creating a communal art piece – it’s messy and awesome.”
Barbagallo says there are a few reasons why parents and kids should come to Dress Up Attack!. But the crux is pretty simple; it’s not your average family day out.
“It’s a day of shared experiences that both parents and kids can honestly enjoy,” she says. “I think that can be quite rare; there’s usually something about a ‘family’ day that makes it difficult or unenjoyable for someone in the family and I think we’ve done a great job in trying to avoid that. Our event is so small and easy.
“Secondly, it’s a great introduction the music festivals for children!
“And finally - perhaps a little selfishly - Dress Up Attack! is a good time for parents. They get to catch up and hang out, enjoy some music, play some games and know that their children are in a small, safe, nurturing environment.”
Angie Who, who’ll also perform at this year’s event, considers herself lucky to be a parent at a time where events like Dress Up Attack are around.
“I think we are lucky to be parenting little ones at a time when there is so much focus on supporting families,” she says. “I love the fact that music is something parents and their kids can enjoy and do together. Dress Up Attack! caters to the whole family, it’s a day for making memories to take home. I wish they had these when I was little!”
Dress Up Attack! happens at the Portugal Community Club, Marrickville, Saturday 17 September. Visit their website for more info.