By Luke Voogt
‘Geelong’s Best Busker’ Josh Dance will join a line-up of local talent raising money for mental health in Portarlington next weekend.
The cause is close to Josh’s heart – he battled through depression and addiction himself.
“It’s great that the whole mental health situation is a lot more out there today,” the 47-year-old said.
“It’s as important as physical health – the two go hand in hand.”
Josh moved “down the highway” from Collingwood to Belmont 12 years ago for a “sea change”.
He had struggled with drinking since he was a teenager.
“One morning I woke up in a park hung over with a dozen cans around me, and that was the last time I drank.”
Josh said busking and writing music since had helped him “in a big way”.
“Putting that emotion and energy into a song has always been a good therapy.”
The Corio local has been flat out performing since winning Geelong’s Best Busker this year.
He loved being able to “pay for the groceries” through live gigs and busking – including a couple of street gigs for Geelong council.
“I’m feeling really good about the music at the moment. I’m making money doing what I love.”
He was thrilled to again join “secret weapon” and drummer Nat De-Palma, 59, at Saints and Sailors in Portarlington on 22 July.
“He could be 20 – he’s got the energy and positivity of a very youthful man,” he said.
“I’ve played at Saints and Sailors a few times. It’s a beautiful venue and looks right onto the ocean.”
The Josh Dance duo will play alongside Possum On The Porch and Jayne Maya to raise money for mental health charity Headspace.
“It’s one of the few places in Geelong that really welcomes and accommodates original artists.”
The Portarlington concert is the brainchild of local musician Kyle Taylor and a precursor to Geelong’s Mane Event Music Festival, which also raises money for Headspace.
“I’ve played with Kyle before,” Josh said. “He’s a great musician. We actually co-wrote a song Drifter and it was the first (song I’d ever co-written).”
Kyle, a gay marriage and cannabis legalization campaigner, will also perform at the concert.
“I’m very excited to be part of this cause to raise much-needed funds for Headspace,” he told the Indy.