At 9:30am on Saturday 8th November 2014 I was downing my morning caffeine hit before boarding the fourth plane that week. This one was only a short 1.5 hour flight up to sunny Karratha.

We had been invited to perform at the 2014 Dampier Twilight Tunes and Guy Fawkes Night thanks to the City of Karratha and I wasn’t travelling alone. Four of us made the trip up: Ben Clarke (keys), Sam Timmerman (bass), Giane Hladin (drums) and yours truly.

The Stray Cat Club

From left to right: Ben Clarke, Nicola Milan, Giane Hladin, Sam Timmerman


I’ve been making an effort to remember to take pics along the way (something I always forget to do) and so before the jet had even left the ground I was social media snapping and selfie-ing until the guy across the isle took a better shot for us. 🙂

Dampier - web

Ben is next to me by the window in this shot

At home I drive a little red car but up in Karratha they’d hired us a massive four wheel drive – the type that comes with an annoying push button start feature. Whoever invented that ridiculous feature should be fired!! We piled into the truck and were sitting there in the sweltering heat waiting for the silly little green light to turn on before we could start the car. It kept flashing off and on so I couldn’t get the damn thing started and all it accomplished was making me look like a totally incompetent driver.

Sam came around to the drivers window to see what the fracas was about just as the light turned green – making me look like a wally – when really it was the car.

We didn’t have a map to get to our hotel, but up in Karratha you really don’t need one. Its tiny and basically one long road with the town spread thinly along it. Its very dry with lots of surrounding desert, but Dampier (which is close to the coast) has a lot of greenery and is quite pretty.

Shire of Roebourne - Google Maps

Map of Karratha


4pm was soundcheck so we had about an hour to dump our bags, eat, get ready and go. The wind and humidity had COMPLETELY ruined my hair but luckily Giane bought a heap of bobby pins so all was not lost.

The stage was right on the beach overlooking the ocean. It was an absolutely gorgeous spot complete with a resident Hammerhead shark!

I was busy grumbling to Ben about being put facing the blazing sun again (it was a 36 degree day) – musos always get put right in the sun and as much as I don’t like to complain, this is Australia and we have to stand there for around three hours in full sun so it becomes a health and safety issue – if you ever hire us, please give us shade!!!!

Fortunately though, after the sound check the sun dimmed and softened quite quickly so even though we were facing it, no one got burned. For our second set the sun had nearly disappeared and it was really pleasant performing so close to the water with the breeze gently blowing. 🙂

The event packed out for our second set with around 3000 people turning up for the show. The whole beach was buzzing with activity which was finished off with a spectacular fireworks display.

Bron from the City of Karratha and her team really did a fantastic job of putting on the event and looked after us really well. We had some delicious grub (seafood!) and a few games of pool (which I lost both times to Sam and Giane) before heading back to our hotel.

Soundchecking on the beach

Soundchecking on the beach

Dampier (8)

Benny and I hanging out during sound check

Benny and I hanging out during sound check

Sam and Giane

Sam and Giane

The event was to raise money for Cancer research and combined a lantern twilight walk with fireworks for Guy Fawkes night. It was pretty spectacular seeing hundreds of lanterns scattered along the beach. There were three different coloured lanterns: white, blue and green which symbolised whether you knew someone who had been touched by Cancer or whether you were there to show your support.

Dampier Twilight Tunes

View of all the lanterns from the stage



Nicola Milan & The Stray Cat Club

View from across from the stage

View from across from the stage


Dampier (16)

Thanks so much to the City of Karratha for having us to perform! We had a blast!

Nicola xx

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