Rhythm Hut goes from strength to strength

To deal with the influx of much-needed volunteers, the Rhythm Hut is advertising a paid, full-time, volunteer coordination role, for someone who is organised, a great people manager and has an interest in community arts and music on the Coast.

This decision comes after a welcomed rise in bookings and events at the venue over the past few months.

This influx in workload and need for volunteers contrasts to six months ago when the Rhythm Hut was struggling to book gigs due to the COVID lockdown.

Founder, Rendra Freestone, said volunteers lately have had the opportunity to take on more serious professional type roles in the space.

Event coordination, marketing, video content creation, social media, gardening, maintenance, admin and class and workshop coordination are some of the roles on offer.

“Up until now, we have only taken on a few key volunteers, but because of the volume of volunteers we now need a Volunteer Coordinator who can manage that volunteer base,” Freestone said.

“Once we were able to accommodate 40 guests, it has been full-on, and there is a lot of fun stuff going here to coordinate.

“We are realising we need to open the volunteer roles up to a whole bunch more people.

“Instead of having two event coordinators, we need 10 to accommodate the number of gigs coming in, and instead of one social media person, we need five.”

At the end of 2020, Freestone said the volunteer base fell apart a little as there was no one dedicated to managing volunteers.

“What we realised is volunteers need to be really looked after, nurtured, and treated well, and if everyone is a volunteer, it can get really tricky to maintain and that is why we are offering this new role,” he said.

“The role is full-time, and that person will be the thread between all of the volunteers and the board.”

As a business thatwhich runs predominantly on the entertainment industry, the Rhythm Hut was forced to shut for five months through the COVID restriction period, causing a financial struggle.

In July 2020, the venue held its first gig after the shutdown and set up a donation-run online streaming service to help pay the artists and operating costs.

In October, they then received money from the community funding program, #GreaterCentralCoast, which was put to straight towards rent.

Coming through all of those struggles, Freestone said they now have bounced back and are busier than ever but still need more volunteers to sustain the mission of fostering arts and music on the Coast.

“Lately we have been booking two to three gigs a week, mostly young local bands which is kind of different for us but great to be making gigs possible for young locals,” he said.

“We still have the bigger acts, but recently our bread and butter have been young local bands who find we are a really simple and accessible venue to work through.”

To register for the full time paid role or as a volunteer coordinator, email Rendra on rendra@me.com or going to the Rhythm Hut Facebook page.

Jacinta Counihan