Townsville was a Blast!
I had the best time in Townsville! It was warm, actually compared to Denmark it was really hot!! Townsville was much dryer than I expected and I’m not sure why I was expecting the tropics because it’s not that far north really. Even though it was the middle of winter it was very dry and quite flat too to my surprise but quite a vibrant multicultural community which was fantastic to see and be a part of. It was wonderful to meet Farvardin Daliri organiser of the Townsville Cultural Fest at long last and his son Erfin Daliri…they are both doing fantastic work in the areas of social cohesion and raising awareness of the important things in life…equality, justice and peace on earth.
I met some amazing people there including the lovely Anisa Nanduala who is activist/poet studying politics, she is only 19 years old but incredibly astute and aware. She speaks really well and her poetry is very powerful. Interestingly she had her performance just before mine and the man who was in charge of the engineering company heckled her….I was disgusted…he was an older guy and obviously did not approve of a young strong Ugandan woman speaking up for what she believed in….but she kept going regardless which in itself was powerful. However, it was very disappointing to witness and I hope that he is in the minority. All in all I met an incredible diverse group of people who come from all corners of this very round planet and they were smiling, dancing and generally having a great time. My favourite band Kallidad were there and it was wonderful to catch up with the Jace, Julz and Tom because I have missed them twice when they have been in Denmark WA (my home town). I haven’t seen them play for at least a year so it was great to dance my socks off again. Another highlight was to see Baker Boy, what an awesome band they are….they really do bring energy and fun to the stage. Danzal Baker is fantastic with the audience, he really does know how to interact with them well. It just so turned out that they were staying in the same accommodation as me, so it doesn’t get much more exciting than that!! I even got almost all of 2 seconds of time in this promo video….Folk n Roll!!!
NSW Documentary Screenings
After the Townsville Festival I hopped on a plane to Sydney and grabbed a car and drove up to Gosford for my first “Music from Manus” documentary screening that was being held at The Avoca Picture Theatre in Gosford. It was a fantastic evening and Danni Habib did a great job of organising the event and I had the most amazing response to the documentary which really set me up for the rest of the tour. The format I used was that I first
introduced myself and talked a bit about how I got engaged in the whole issue and then I sang 2 songs and then we did the screening and then we had Q and A afterwards. There were many great questions asked and the overwhelming response was that people were inspired to do more after the event. It’s much more than I could have ever asked for. My whole purpose for going to Manus was to try to engage people in the issue and hope that they would be encouraged to do more.
The next day I drove up to Newcastle where I stayed with Amanda Perram, another great advocate for the refugees on Manus and Emma Comely joined us from Sydney. It was our first meeting with Amanda who is a wealth of information when it comes to the recent years of lies and deceit coming from the Australian government. It really is great to at last meet with all these amazing women who are doing incredible work across Australia in supporting the refugees.
In Newcastle I met with Nikola Leka who organised the screening with Hunter Asylum Seeker Avocacy group and it was another great night with lots of new connections made and a fantastic response to the documentary itself. I then drove down to Sydney the very next day where I stayed with Emma Comely for a couple of days. That night was the Teachers for Refugees and Refugee Action Collective screening in Surry Hills which was a great location. That is where I met with Mark Goudkamp and also film director Ian Stevenson and a number of other advocates that I have been in contact with on facebook throughout this whole journey. Ian was very impressed with the documentary and he was very keen to talk about submitting it to SBS which we talked further about and he has now submitted it. So we are waiting for a reply and fingers crossed that something can come from that because that would be a much wider audience and a real chance to see more change in attitudes.
I had Thursday off then I drove down to Thirroul on Friday to meet with Patrick Harrison who was organising the screening there where we had a full house and very keen bunch of people. I met a lovely lady Naomi Lai there too who is also an advocate and she sent her mum to the screening for the following in the Eurobodalla region. I stayed with Mairi Peterson in Shell Harbour which is a lovely spot and it was wonderful to see Russell Hannah at the screening too. I have stayed with Mairi a few times now and I have talked about her before….she is this incredible woman who has been fighting for refugees for 20 years and I have a huge amount of admiration for her. Once again in Thirroul we had a very attentive audience and I am just amazed each time at how everyone gets something different from the screening but the end result is everyone wants to do more which is brilliant. I know I keep using the words amazing, brilliant, fantastic over and over but there is no other way to describe how much I love this work and the fact that it overlaps with my work as an artist (singer songwriter) is even more incredible because I can use the very essence that drives me to create social change in my own small way.
It was a three and a half hour drive down to the Eurobodalla region where I was staying with Marn and Peter Cole. I think I got the presidential suite and I was totally spoilt and it was wonderful to meet and spend time with Marn and Peter too. We did the screening in Moyura and this was the last one so I was feeling a sense of relief that I had gotten through the 10 days. I met more wonderful people from the Refugee Action Collective Eurobodalla who organised the event.
It was a five and a half hour drive back to Sydney the next day….it was beautiful drive and I was buzzing with adrenaline from the previous days and I was really happy to get back to Emma’s where we hung out for a few days and I enjoyed a rest. I flew back to Perth on the Tuesday and drove back down Denmark which is another 5 hours the same day so I was buggered once I got home. It really has been an incredible journey and from here I am going to be spending some time recording and playing music and writing new songs and engaging more in my music. So I will close for now but I’m going to write update in just a few days to report on the recording weekend that I had a few weeks ago and festivals and gigs that are coming my way. YEW FOLK N ROLE!!! LOVING IT!!!!