On Sunday the 26th of June, a week before the federal election, the Foundry in Fortitude Valley is hosting a music festival called ‘Bring Them Here- Sounds of Change’ as a protest of the treatment of refugees detained in Australia’s offshore holding camps.
Despite the international controversy surrounding the Australian government’s treatment of refugees, particularly over the past 12 months, we’ve heard little from the two major parties about solutions, the fate of the refugees currently detained on Nauru and Manus Island or their intentions for the future. That is, unless you count the perpetual yammering on about the boats themselves (“Stop the boat”, “Boat people”, “The boats have stopped” “Boaty boaty stop”).
‘Bring Them Here- Sounds of Change’ (BTH) is a chance for people to show their support for refugees detained on Manus and Nauru as well as those who are in detention in Australia or trying to find their way in our community. It’s also a chance to show the leaders of our country this is an issue the Australian public cares about.
Everyone involved in the event, including the artists, are volunteering their talents and services for free and the money raised by ticket sales will be donated to a number of refugee organisations in Brisbane. Erin Kennedy, one of the event organisers, says “It’s really beautiful to see all these creative people coming together because they care about this issue”.
The idea for BTH came about after Erin and some friends attended the vigil held outside Lady Cliento Hospital for baby Asha in February of this year. She says “It was such a community space, there was a protest, but the heart of what was happening was a vigil. It was really different”. Erin spoke to many people at the protest who were not usually politically active, people who hadn’t been to a protest or rally in their lives, but were there, standing outside a hospital and showing their support. “It made us realise these people are out there and they want to help. We wanted to continue that momentum,” Erin says.
During the fight for baby Asha, it was the doctors who took a stand that made all the difference. They took leadership on the issue and people listened. On the 26th of June, musicians and entertainers will be given a chance to do the same. “Like doctors, musicians are people we look up to in our society,” says Erin. “They tell our stories and we listen to them. We hope the fact that these artist are willing to support this cause to give people hope.”
One of the artist performing is popular Brisbane duo Zefereli. When asked about what made them want to be part of this event, member Alistar Richardson responded. “For those who come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share. If we fear those in need, who can we expect to turn to when we are vulnerable?”
The festival has pulled together a great line up with a diverse range of artists and according to Erin, there are plenty more who are interested in being involved in future events.
“This is our first event but we have had so much support from a lot of artists who haven’t been available but have asked us to please keep [them] in mind for future events. Even when we finally have a more humane refugee policy, this is an event that encourages the celebration of diversity, it speaks positively about the fact that we are all from somewhere.”
If this long election has left you feeling uninspired, BTH is sure to rejuvenate you and remind us all we’re not alone. What better way to spend the Sunday before election week than indulging in a few cheeky beers, listening to some great local music and contributing to a good cause? If nothing else, BTH will guarantee you a few blessed hours, free of any mention of “stopping boats”.
For More information, on Bring Them Here - Sounds of Change, or to purchase tickets visit the official event webpage here.