Date(s) - 31/12/2021
Melbourne erupts with a frenzied rush to ’22 – by Trevine Rodrigo
Fun loving Melburnians who have been starved of interaction and entertainment over the past two years due to Covid restrictions can look forward to a brighter New Year and a hope for better things in ’22.
And, they have erupted into action like excited animals set free to roam once more.
The effects of the crippling pandemic which brought the world to its knees has had an adverse effect on millions of outgoing people. So much so that there is an evident split in the reaction to it. Not all are in the mindset of going out anymore while others are going berserk enjoying the new freedom that has now opened up.
Sr Lankan expats who have endured the longest lockdown in the world in Melbourne are breathing a sigh of relief that this year will be a much more close to norm event unlike last year and worse the year before.
Several dance organizers have sprung into action with expansive plans to usher in the New year among them, Bertie Ekanaike and the VOC with Esric Jackson who have lined up the Grand on Cathies Lane in Wantirna for what must draw the biggest crowds with Covid protocols being observed.
Back from a lengthy sourjorn in Perth visiting his daughter and grandkids, Esric Jackson was bubbling with newfound enthusiasm as he wades back into what he loves doing best, being in the thick of things in Melbourne’s busy entertainment activity of which he is a livewire.
” We are planning to give guests a night to remember as we usher in a New Year that will surpass and lighten up the dark two years we endured in the past”, he says. Together with the organizers, Esric and the team led by VOC President Anton De Costa are leaving no stone unturned to make this “The best New Years Eve ever in Melbourne’s memory”, said Esric. Guests will also be treated to a live streaming of the Melbourne fireworks display as the countdown to the New Year occurs thanks to a direct link from Sri Lanka’s ethnic Chanel 31 in Melbourne whose producer Nimal Alwis has linked up with the city activity on the night.
Fantastic dance band Replay 6 and probably the best country band No Limit will be raring to go music wise after a long layoff from public appearances. It promises to be a night like no other as the two bands unleash their brilliant talent to their adoring fans. Esric Jackson will feature alongside both of them.
Both bands will join hands to usher in the New year with a medley of traditional songs sung for decades.
The very talented Sonali Lindsay, Chris Mant and Cloud Nine will be in action at Gaelic Park in Keysborough at an Anglo Indian event that is also expected to draw a packed house. Chris and Sonali are excited to be invited to perform at the Indian event ahead of some top Indian talent in Melbourne.
News from Sydney indicate that music sensation Desmond De Silva will travel to Melbourne raring to go at ‘The Sri Lounge’ in the Docklands which is in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. I am informed that the event is already sold out. Such is the following of one of Sri Lanka’s icons whose popularity continues to hold strong unwaveringly by his countless fans. The venue also has the added attraction of the lavish New Year’s Eve fireworks display which is a major drawcard to Melburnians each year.
Being housebound for most of the past two years due to lockdown, Desmond has been working hard in the unfamiliar and difficult closed confines adapting to hatch up some exciting surprises for his fans who are usually happy with the numerous hits he has produced in an unforgettable career spanning several decades. Not being stereotyped to a particular genre, Desmond’s range in music is what has kept him ahead of the field over this time. Many before him have not lasted the distance and have exited the stage through waning demand. Some are in awe and envy at his incredible endurance which has been unwavering.
Recounting his pre Covid scheduling, which was absolutely hectic, Desmond says, “2019 was my busiest year by far”. He and wife Phylis globe trotted through non stop gigs interstate and International events, a special memory was back to back gigs in the UK at the Sri Lanka Kidney Foundation dance in Nottingham followed by the Big Imperial College dance in London.
“Whilst in lockdown I had a lot of time to think about new material. And with a lot of encouragement, I embraced technology and have produced video clips and audio tracks for my Official YouTube channel”. he said.
” Rested and with renewed spirit I am very excited to get back on stage and perform to a live audience. It is especially significant to be able to help fans usher in 2022 with renewed hope for the year ahead” says the indefatigable veteran of Sri Lanka music whose globe trotting exploits would have broken many younger artistes.
The popular Walawwa in Melbourne is in talks with Cherrie Chamari and BE Sharpe for their New Years Eve event and if all goes well, guests can expect a homely welcome filled with a great Cuisine and a great musical set up that is extremely popular.
Walawwa owners Shehan Wijewardene and Nash Samarakoon say a packed house is expected to turn up to the event as has been the case over the years.