By B.Hannam

Do you like rock music? How about supporting mental health? We have found the perfect festival for you! 

In a not-so-quiet corner of Brisbane’s suburbs, Rock Beats Depression (RBD) festival managed to raise $5000 in support of mental health. The 16th of September saw them boast their fourth year running, with non-stop (and we do literally mean non-stop) performances from local headliners. We saw the likes of Jason Watt, Gravy James, River City Villiams, and Killswitch, who set the stage for 11 hours of high-energy performances. 


Caity Kunhemann, the brains and the brawn behind RBD, initially started the festival as Rock Beats Cancer in 2018. Ms Kunhemann wanted to create a festival with a difference, the event was born from a desire to raise more funds for The Leukemia Foundation. Looking to support a different cause each year, they rebranded the event as ‘Rock Beats Depression’ and expanded its scope to encompass the pressing issue of mental health. However, the support and passion for mental health saw the name stick and now proudly lends its support to The Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue, and Headspace. This year,  with plenty of support from local businesses, the event raised over $5,000 for mental health support and awareness. Speaking about her motivation to create the festival, Caity said:

“Being a musician myself and playing in bands, I was like, sure I can put on a music festival.”

“Depression and mental health awareness are close to my heart and I’ve had my own struggles over the years so I wanted to continue it.

Band - Jollee Source - The Jolly Times News - Lewis Hall

Caity’s passion for both music and mental health has borne a truly unique and welcoming festival. The metalheads spoke of the welcoming and supportive atmosphere that engulfs everyone, with all commenting on the privilege of having an outlet that encourages everyone to talk about mental health. One patron said:


Events like this really shine a light on it [mental health] and it’s very positive, also being in an atmosphere where we can come and enjoy things that we enjoy with other people and share our stories.”

Music possesses a capacity to sooth and nurture the human spirit. Music has the power to elevate moods and create a sense of belonging. It can also act as a cognitive stimulant, boosting memory and problem-solving skills, especially for those with neurodegenerative conditions. It is also a valuable tool for pain management with its ability to divert attention, which helps reduce perceived pain and enhance overall well-being. On music’s incredible ability to heal, one woman shared how it had helped her grieve the recent and sudden passing of her 52-year-old younger brother, she recounted:


My younger brother loves this music, as do I.”

“I’m here because this is his music and I feel at home here, and he would be rocking out here if he was still here.”

Band - killswitch. Source - The Jolly Times News. Lewis Hall

The 11-hour event boasted a raffle from community businesses, band merch, and even a Death by Mullet Barber – doing mullet cuts exclusively, of course. The day roared into the night; bands such as Passion Cactus took us through the afternoon with their mellow psychedelic sound. They played the On Target Stage at 2.30 pm, followed by Sound Affliction on the Heavy Stage.  The Tailor Made Rejects were on at 6 pm and really made their presence known; they brought a massive energy to the main stage and got a few laughs from the crowd. Jollee was another stand-out, gracing the On Target Stage at 6.40 pm – an unbelievable voice with a band to match. There was passion, there was energy, and the steak sandwiches were brilliant!

RBD supports three critical mental health organisations: The Black Dog Institute, who conducts mental health research and drives evidence-informed change; Beyond Blue, which has offered reliable and trusted mental health support and information for more than 20 years; and Headspace, who offers early intervention services for young people. These organisations work to improve mental health and remove the stigma behind it. By supporting them, Rock Beats Depression plays a vital role in advancing the community’s mental health.

Brad (Right) Getting inside the minds of local rockers and their tac tics for maintaining mental good quality mental health. Source - The Jolly Times News. Lewis Hall

Rock Beats Depression is a community looped event and they show no sign of slowing down. For any and every music lover wishing to support a terrific cause backed by an amazing community, RBD is not one to miss. The Mansfield Tavern, located in Mansfield, Brisbane, will be hosting the event again on September 7th 2024. Put it in your calendar, with Caity at the helm and a few bands already confirming to return, we’re sure its 5th year running will be bigger and better than ever.

Bands can apply to perform at Rock Beats Depression by emailing Caity at You can stay in the loop by following the Rock Beats Depression Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“Mental health is so important, and bringing awareness to that through community is absolutely great”

  • Caity Kunhemann, Rock Beats Depression Organiser.


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