Performers entertain troops in Middle East
20 September 2018
Australian entertainers performed three gigs for ADF troops deployed to the Middle East during a tour of the region from September 5-12.
Independent singer/songwriter Peta Evans-Taylor and Melbourne band Fear of Flying joined comedians Luke Heggie and Sean Woodland for concerts in Kabul, Afghanistan, before flying to Australia’s main command and logistics base in the region for a final show at Camp Baird.
The tour was organised by Forces Entertainment, which has given concerts for deployed ADF personnel since 1966 when it first supported Australian forces in Vietnam.
Four Australian Army Band Corps musicians, including Sergeant Peta Lockhart of the 1RAR Band, provided technical support for the tour.
Sergeant Lockhart said the early planning for a Forces Entertainment Tour involved hiring the sound equipment and lighting needed for the shows then shipping it to the Middle East.
“The troops in Afghanistan and those at Camp Baird were excited the performers came to entertain them while they are deployed,” she said.
“For them it’s a break from their routine and a taste of home. For the comedians and musicians it was a chance to see what a great job our troops are doing.
“This is my fifth deployment to the Middle East region with Forces Entertainment and each time has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
“While the comedy brings laughter, the music lets people relax and unwind – they love it.”
Fear of Flying lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Pete Broadway said his pop/rock band formed in 2014 and was featured on Triple J’s Unearthed.
“It was exciting to be selected for a Forces Entertainment Tour and also nerve-racking to find out we’d be playing in Afghanistan,” he said.
“The troops welcomed us warmly and were keen to show us around and tell us about their jobs.
“The tour was more exhausting than I expected, especially wearing body armour and getting in and out of the Protected Mobility Vehicles.
“The best part was seeing what our troops go through and learning about the dangers they could be exposed to while deployed.
“It was also a great way to give something back.”
Fear of Flying includes Aran Smith on bass guitar, Jayson Solis on drums and Steve McGlade on lead guitar.
The other musician to perform on the tour, Peta Evans-Taylor, immediately jumped at the chance to support the troops when a Forces Entertainment representative asked if she wanted to be involved.
“These guys and girls are doing a hard and sometimes thankless job, so I just wanted to show my appreciation,” she said.
“It was great to hear that they loved the performances.
“It was an exciting and awesome experience singing for our troops – it was a privilege.”