Over 1000 people attended the inaugural Wild Aid fundraiser event in Byron Bay, Australia on the weekend, raising almost $100,000 for the region’s only Wildlife Hospital to continue providing lifesaving veterinary care for sick, injured and orphaned native animals.
Attendees were treated to a jubilant, ninety-minute set in the Green Room at Byron Events Farm from the enigmatic Tex Perkins and his band, The Cruel Sea, who headlined Wild Aid’s entertainment program. The multi-Aria award-winning band performed their hits live for the first time in ten years thrilling everyone in the room.
“Wild Aid was wildly successful and a truly special night,” said Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital Founder and CEO Dr Stephen Van Mil.
“We are deeply grateful to Tex, all of the performers, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble and his hardworking team at The Green Room, and all the sponsors, supporters and patrons who made the night an extraordinary experience,”said Dr Van Mil.”
“It’s incredibly heartening to know how much the public supports us, and it’s a real shot in the arm for our veterinary team’s morale. All the funds raised help us keep our doors open to continue treating and caring for wildlife,”added Dr Van Mil.
“On the day of the event, our vet team were called to an active bushfire zone in Tyagarah, Byron Shire, by the state National Parks and Wildlife Service, showing the acute need for our expertise and service.”
The funds raised will pay for the expert treatment needed to save over 170 wildlife patients, which is significant.”
“I am humbled and in awe of how many beautiful humans I was surrounded by on Saturday night at Wild Aid,” said Tex Perkins, who is also a Wildlife Ambassador for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital.
“Everything came together with a profound beauty full of heart, joy, love, laughter, humanity, community and some incredible music!” he added.
“The Cruel Sea’s return to the stage after 10 years was a joyful triumph. People came not only to help us support an incredible organisation but to support us – the music makers – and encourage us to do our very best.”
Wild Aid was held at The Green Room on the Bluesfest site, which is Byron Bay’s newest live music venue. Owner of The Green Room, Peter Noble OAM, today said: “The Green Room was pleased to be able to support Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital by hosting the benefit concert Wild Aid”.
“One of the things that became clear to us through working on Wild Aid was that many in our community are unaware that the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital receives zero funding!”
”That means that every dollar they make from anysource is put toward healing injured wildlife. Anything you do, whether attending Wild Aid or donating directly, helps save our local injured wildlife from death. It is that simple, and it is that serious.
“Congratulations, Stephen Van Mil and the team. What you’re doing is the work that Australia needs. Since you’ve opened, you’ve rescued and cared for wildlife in the thousands. Let’s all be sure to support you.”
The crowd was also entertained by a heartfelt Welcome to Country from indigenous leader Delta Kay, and stunning performances from local acts Jez Mead, Loose Content, solo artist Adalita, and comedian Arj Barker, who MC’d Wild Aid.
The hospital estimated it raised almost $100,000 from the fundraiser through ticket sales, donations, merchandise sales, donated food and beverage, and the proceeds from a live auction.
Auction prizes included a custom-made surfboard and electric guitar signed by the artists, wildlife artworks, an all-expenses paid holiday to the Maldives and a private whisky night with the star performer of the night himself, Tex.
“We received incredibly generous support from so many businesses and individuals, to whom we express our deep gratitude,” said Dr Van Mil.
The support also came from afar from a very public figure. Godfather of punk Iggy Pop and his Moluccan cockatoo Biggy Pop, (Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital’s Founding Patron) sent a powerful, three-minute video message of strong support for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital shared with the crowd.
“We need public support, to keep saving wildlife, while we work to persuade the government, to restore the $6 million, four-year funding plan they announced, then revoked,” said Iggy, adding, “Now, let’s get back to some music!” before welcoming The Cruel Sea to the stage.
“The outpouring of support at Wild Aid reinforces that we provide a valuable, essential service for the environment,” said Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital Chairman Karl Cope.
“The scale of the challenge to protect wildlife is immense and ongoing. Wild Aid is a very meaningful event for us, as we continue to make our case for emergency funding support from the NSW Government.”