Big names hand-pick local acts for Warrnambool gig

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When she performed a cover of Alex Lahey’s “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself” with friend and future band-mate Jemima McCoy as part of a school music assessment, sharing the stage with the modern pop-punk icon seemed like an improbable dream for Laura Hickey.

And despite her band Snakes Don’t Need Keys, as well as local singer/songwriter Maddie Jackway being hand-picked by Lahey and fellow headliners The Smith Street Band to open for them in Warrnambool on March 4, she said she’d still be pinching herself on the big night to make sure it was real.

“It’s very exciting to be playing with such a cool line up – people that we’ve seen play live before and really look up to,” she said.

“They picked us and wanted us to play with them – it’s so cool to think that they’ve listened to us and like us.”

As part of the Push All-Ages event at the Warrnambool Showgrounds, a competition was held to select two South West support acts, with the headliners listening to all entries and choosing their two favourites.

Maddie Jackway echoed Laura’s excitement at being chosen to share the stage with such huge acts.

“It’s really hard to believe and I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” she said. 

“I submitted an original song, and that was really cool. It was a song I wrote a good while ago called Honest.”

Maddie said that repeated COVID-19 lockdowns had an impact not just on her opportunities to perform, but the music she wrote too.

“It influenced my writing in that I write a lot of my songs from experience, and because a lot of experiences and adventures were cut short,” she said.

“The things I was writing about, the impact of COVID on how we perceive the world, I know that it’s a shared experience. 

“It’s very comforting to know that I’m writing on behalf of a large number of people and maybe expressing some of the things they’ve been feeling but haven’t been able to express themselves.

“I’m excited to share my music with a large group of people and this is a great opportunity.”

Laura agreed, saying that fellow Snakes Don’t Need Keys members Jemima McCoy, Millie Quarrell and Jordy Hickey were all eager to hit the stage in front of a big crowd.

“It’s really addictive when you’re up there and everyone is jamming out, having a dance, it’s really fun and we’ve missed it a lot so it’s good to get back into it.”

The Push All-Ages Tour is delivered as a part of On The Road Again - a Victorian Government initiative to bring live music back across the state, and in partnership with triple j Unearthed, Vanessa, JMC Academy, Moshtix and the Warrnambool City Youth Council.

Tickets are $20 (plus booking fee) and are available at

The Warrnambool FReeZA Push All Ages Tour is a Safe, Inclusive, and Violence Free Event. It's COVID-safe, drug and alcohol free with no passouts.