MIK MAKS' Joel McInness is ready to step on stage in a major concert hall and serve up a big performance in a bid to keep children engaged in live music from their homes.
McInness said exposure to concerts for children in regional areas was limited but, in a way, pandemic restrictions allowed bands to be more accessible.
He said, when it came to children, there was a big element of "out of sight, out of mind", so finding ways to tap into performances and the live music experience was important.
The arts area has a huge role to play in the development of all children with visual art, dancing, learning to talk, singing and imitating.Joel McInness, The Mik Maks
"Live entertainment is vital. The arts area has a huge role to play in the development of all children with visual art, dancing, learning to talk, singing and imitating. Just like sport is vital for children," McInness said.
"We've had to adapt very, very quickly but some things we're doing now probably won't disappear. Live streaming has helped us reach new audiences, especial in regional areas and overseas."
Ballarat is a major hotspot for the popular Geelong-based children's band and McInness said the band was missing its young fans across the Central Highlands region.
The Mik Maks are set to perform their first free, live-streamed concert from Geelong Arts Centre on Saturday afternoon. McInness is calling on Ballarat families to get involved and send in questions or requests.
The Mik Maks have long called out birthday messages for fans and tried to answer questions from concert-goers as they went, but McInness said live streaming a concert was shaping up to be almost a completely fan-guided experience.
"The real power and difference in this live show is families can be part of the performance, requesting a song or maybe altering the whole direction of the concert," McInness said.
The real power and difference in this live show is families can be part of the performance.Joel McInness, The Mik Maks
This concert is part of a Geelong Arts Centre free series to promote and support musicians amid lockdowns. Concerts have been on Friday nights but the Mik Maks' Family Magic special aims to help launch school holidays on a Saturday afternoon.
City of Ballarat-supported initiative Sanitise produced two live-streamed concerts billed with Ballarat artists in the past month - one at The Eastern Hotel, the other at Volta.
The Mik Maks have spent lockdown taking time to work on the band's YouTube channel. The band has also worked on live-stream partnerships with other organisations, including Melbourne Zoo for which they played live to pre-recorded animal antics.
McInness said he could hardly wait to get back on a live stage - even if it means waiting a little longer for junior audiences to join them.
Concert, Saturday, 1pm: geelongartscentre.org.au.
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