By Kendrea Rhodes
Pictured here are The Artificial Hipsters (Iain Ross & Bob Molloy) performing on Club Night with Club Acoustica at the Olive Branch Café in Balhannah, 2015. Photo courtesy of Martin Photographics.
The lyrical twang of harmonic voices and acoustic guitars echoes through the diners, musicians and the very walls of the Olive Branch Café in Balhannah. It’s the first Sunday of the month and, at 5:30pm, Club Acoustica kicks off its club night with over three hours of live music and wholesome, homemade food and drink at the Café.
The Olive Branch Café in Balhannah are genuinely people-minded people, embedded deep into their community, and caring and catering to all walks of life. For eleven years they have proven their commitment and enjoyment with community initiatives that showcase and support local music, local artists, local people and local kindness.
Owner and chef, Nicole McIntosh, established the Olive Branch with her husband Brent in 2008. Since then the Café’s popularity and inclusiveness has moved into the realms of iconic as more and more people rely on the weekly events and connections at the Café. And there’s a lot of space to spread out allowing prams and boisterous play (in the enclosed children’s play area) and discussion or contemplation in other areas. On Club Acoustica night, the Café is also known as a ‘listening venue’ where audience conversation occurs between performances, creating an atmosphere of immersion and respect.
Nicole said, ‘I always want people to feel comfortable and relaxed. This café is for everyone: mothers and babies, clubs, celebrations, all ages, musicians, artists, meetings, community events, people with a range of dietary needs and those studying, working or reading.’
Club Acoustica is the brainchild of the late Bob Molloy, a music legend in South Australia. Nicole and Bob met in 2011 when Bob performed at the Olive Branch Café in a fundraiser for Brisbane flood victims. They both expressed a desire to create opportunities for local artists at a regular live music venue, and decided that between them, it was possible.
Bob passed away in February and will always be remembered for his contribution and dedication to music and people. He was an exceptional musician and a caring gentleman who liked to laugh. His passion brought about Club Acoustica and connected people to community, to themselves and to music.
The Club has new convenors who are continuing Bob’s legacy at the Olive Branch Café. They are also long-time friends of Bob’s, sharing his passion and vision to provide opportunities, encouragement and enjoyment for all involved.
‘Bob was such a huge force in grassroots music in the Hills, and beyond. We are going to miss him,’ said local musician and Club Acoustica contact, Adrienne Lovelock.
Club nights are free and run in a concert-style format with a showcase ‘spot’ at the start of the night for first timers. Please visit Club Acoustica’s Facebook page for more information or to send a message.
The Olive Branch Café caters for events and also runs community programs such as Crafty Kids classes, Kid’s Cooking classes and Open Mic evenings. The Café is open seven days a week and can be found in the Junction Shopping Centre, 84 Main Road, Balhannah. For bookings or catering enquiries, please phone 8389 0009, or visit Facebook or their website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olive Branch will stay open for as long as they can. They are enforcing the new strict social distancing and hygiene recommendations for customers and staff, and as such, have limited seating. However, they are also making more and more of their delicious takeaway ready meals – contact them on the methods listed previously.