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Putting your message into music | Strings Attached WA Guitar Festival

Charlie Mgee will head to Margaret River for the 2021 Strings Attached WA Guitar Festival, where he will perform live shows and host workshops across the weekend.
Charlie Mgee will head to Margaret River for the 2021 Strings Attached WA Guitar Festival, where he will perform live shows and host workshops across the weekend.

"It's just four fingers, and four strings."

So says South West singer songwriter Charlie Mgee of his trusty ukulele, which he will be brandishing across a number of stages at this year's Strings Attached: West Australian Guitar Festival next month.

The Formidable Vegetable frontman will be making the trek back to Margaret River to play live shows and present a workshop - Our Weapons Are Our Instruments - aimed at sharing the power of activism through music.

"I've always been a proponent of sustainability and permaculture, specifically," explained Mgee this week as he headed south to Denmark with a truck full of fruit trees ready for planting.

"So at some point I thought 'why not use music' to really harness this message of the power of positive change."

The Pemberton-born musician said the festival workshop would look at how to create while incorporating messages important to both the performers and their audiences.

"The workshop is for anyone interesting in using songwriting as a tool for change.

"We need to ask ourselves, what is music for? Is it to create community?

"Is it to bring people together to think and listen and talk about issues that are important to all of us? Is it to just enjoy ourselves and let loose? Or is it a combination of those things?"

Mgee found himself 'trapped' in Victoria for much of 2020 due to travel restrictions, which led to a new period of creativity.

"I couldn't get back home for 8 months, but I also hadn't written an album in three years - just touring around the world had taken all my creative time.

"So it ended up being a great creative opportunity to work, and resulted in two new albums which is really cool."

The humble ukulele has made a big impact in the world of music over the last decade, apparent in the uke-laden shows, workshops and group jams littered throughout this year's Strings Attached festival program.

"I think the appeal is the simplicity of the instrument," said Mgee.

"I tried learning guitar and I was sort of labouring along with it, then someone at a festival handed me a uke and I was like 'ahhh!'.

"I've heard people say the ukulele is the instrument for people who can't play instruments.

"I think it's just an accessible way to make music and write songs, so it's great to see the uke infiltrating more festivals like this one."

Find out more

The Strings Attached: WA Guitar Festival is on from Friday October 8 to Sunday October 10, held at various venues across the region with the festival headquarters located at Margaret River HEART.

Charlie Mgee plays the HEART Main Theatre on Saturday October 9 and Sunday October 10. His workshop, Our Weapons Are Our Instruments, is at the Zone Room on Saturday October 9.

For tickets and info visit www.stringsattachedfestival.com.au