2,155 people have been killed or seriously injured on Wheatbelt roads in the past 10 years. This is the highest rate in all of WA. West Australian Music is trying to change that.

“If we can save one life, then it’s been worth it.” That's how WAM and RAC approaced their latest venture. 

In 2016, WA has tragically lost over 160 lives to road fatalities. This is why West Australian Music and RAC have worked together to release a video talking about road safety and featuring stories from the Wheatbelt WAMBassadors.

WAM selected six local musicians – Erin Pope, Ash Nardini, Hayden Sprigg, Polly Medlen, Jayden Crook and Pete Byfield – to offer insights into the effects of road trauma, with many of the WAMBassadors having been directly affected by road tragedies in the Wheatbelt.

The collection of stories is part of a powerful video serving as a warning to stay safe on the roads, and offering advice to reduce the road toll in the Wheatbelt region.

Wheatbelt WAMBassador Hayden Sprigg.

WAM Regional Officer, Nigel Bird, said they are not only making a difference in music, but also in the way people think.

The video came about firstly through our partnership with the RAC. We had identified the Wheatbelt WAMBassadors, and we went up to York for a day to work with the RAC around understanding where the stats were currently and some of the messages that they were looking to promote, in regards to road safety,” he said.

“We had a set of questions that we sent to each of the WAMBassadors and we thought we’d get it on video and I’m not sure that any of us really thought that we would get the footage that we actually did.”

The video received no promotion from WAM, other than the initial share on its Facebook page.

“I think we knew that it would be organically shared, and I guess it’s a tough one because with something like Facebook, when the content is sad it’s not something that people are going to press like on all the time, or even comment,”” Mr Bird said.

“I think we’re almost up to 200 shares of that post, which is by far the biggest shared post that WAM has ever done on social media.

“We wanted to be organic, we knew that the Wheatbelt WAMBassadors, once they had shared it, it would reach their friends and they would share it and their friends would share it because in the Wheatbelt, we’re dealing with a lot of small towns, so quite often, people know everyone.”

Mr Bird said they really are focusing on the community spirit within small towns, both with road safety awareness, and regional music.

“With all of the WAMBassadors, they’ve all got their own larger networks than just their town, in the Wheatbelt and lots of people know them, so I guess that was the idea that it would be something that people really engaged with and reacted to, and wanted to share that same message to their friends and family that were on social media,” he said.

“We’re seeing a lot of Wheatbelt acts now writing songs and recording their music a lot more than what there were when WAM first started working in the Wheatbelt, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

“We’re really providing a lot of opportunities for people to perform original music, and in turn, audiences to see their local community members performing songs, and I think people really get behind their friends and family and community members.”

WAM thanks its major sponsors, RAC, Department of Culture and the Arts, Department of Regional Development and Country Arts WA.

“Without their financial support, we wouldn’t be out there promoting music and being able to promote music and grow these community events, but also we wouldn’t be out there really reminding people of road safety in the region when it’s really needed.”

Go to the West Australian Music Facebook page now to see the video. 

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