Bringing light relief to a serious business

CHRIS “The Bloke” Franklin may be a comedian but his voice turns grave when he describes the plight of remote communities he visits. 

He will perform at the Barkly Hotel as part of a national tour called Shout a Mate, which helps raise money to bring entertainers into remote communities to boost spirit.

Franklin took part in the tour through a friend who organised it, not realising how hard people in remote communities had it.  

 “The amount of stories we get of farmers that may have taken their life or given up on the whole thing,” Franklin said. 

“There’s a lot more stories of suicide than I expected to hear in a small community.” 

Small communities were increasingly unable to afford entertainers that the cities received but the events were a great way to bring it together.

Guitarist Kieran Wicks, who will also perform at the Barkly Hotel, said the tour was also about spreading awareness about regional struggles in the capital cities. 

“The drought is a massive part of that and has a massive knock-on effect of economy,” Wicks said. 

“Without the country towns the cities can’t be fed. 

“Towns are turning into ghost towns and some will have a lot more empty buildings than others and that’s a big worry.” 

Wicks took video footage of the towns he visited to encourage city based people to visit rural Australia instead of spending money overseas. 

He hoped to take footage of Mount Isa when he arrived. 

The Aussie Pub Crawl will be held at the Barkly Hotel on Saturday, July 4. 

Tickets are $45 and include dinner, a show and complimentary drink, and can be booked by phoning the hotel on 4744 7777.

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