Rocking and riding for a great big cause

When Phil Jamieson walks in he looks quintessentially rock'n'roll. He sports dark sunglasses, chipped black nail polish and a cut-off denim vest. However his early morning visit to Bondi Beach is anything but.

"I'm up early nowadays, kids force you to get up early," he said while he waited for his takeaway coffee.

Jamieson is in Sydney for the first Big Day Out festival of 2013, which kicked off on Friday in Homebush. But this isn't the event that has him "tingling with excitement".

The frontman of the iconic Australian band Grinspoon is about to embark on a nearly 3000-kilometre motorcycle ride from the Gold Coast Big Day Out all the way to Grinspoon's Adelaide festival appearance.

"One day I was riding my motorcycle to clear my head and on my way home, I thought about the route of Big Day Out and thought about how I have to physically somehow get from the Gold Coast to Adelaide and thought about my options and I thought about the ride, then I rang Adam," Jamieson said.

Adam Zammit is the chief executive and founder of Peer Group Media, as well as the head of Big Day Out, and when he heard Jamieson's idea of a motorcycle ride across half the country he started to get an idea.

"I said, 'Phil, I think you should do the ride but for a good reason,' and mental health was something that we both zoomed in on that we wanted to target," Zammit explained.

"Mental health is a big wide issue and when we started thinking about who we were going to work on behalf of the only real choice was Headspace [the national youth mental health foundation]... Their growing number of centres around the country meant that we had an opportunity to ride somewhere, and create a destination-based awareness campaign," Zammit said.

And thus the Rock N Ride was born. Both parties then began to ring their famous friends to get them on board, and just three months later the ride is set to take off on Sunday, January 20.

Jamieson and Zammit will be joined by fellow bike enthusiasts and celebrities Julie Jamieson, Paul Mac, Nathan Hindmarsh and Chris Joannou, just to name a few.

Chris Tanti, the chief executive of Headspace, is excited to take the partnership between the Big Day Out and Headspace to the next level.

"We've been involved with the Big Day Out for the last few years. That primarily has involved us having a presence at the Big Day Out and distributing information, so this is a bit of a step up," Mr Tanti said.

"What Rock n Ride does is that it provides an opportunity for those who aren't necessarily experts in this space to have direct conversations with young people about mental health and what we know is that is a really important conversation to have."

Along the ride the group will be stopping at rural Headspace centres and playing some music alongside some of the local talent, as well as openly discussing the issue of mental health.

"I grew up in a regional area and for me it was just a really good fit," said Jamieson. "Headspace has been working with Big Day Out for the last few years and it just seemed to make a lot of sense, the fact that I also get to play a few songs and at the same time draw attention to the centres and show that kids out there aren't alone is really great."

Zammit, who hopes Rock N Ride becomes an annual event, says motorcycles are the perfect vehicle for getting his message across.

"I think motorbikes are a great vehicle for this - we're all on our own on motorbikes and yet we have to have peripheral vision around us," he said.

The story Rocking and riding for a great big cause first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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