Three more young adults reflect on their insights and highlights from October’s On Earth Festival, including Jack Venables, Sayesha Dhal and Emily Pell
Jack Venables – Community of The Way intern
The key highlight was that so many people came along during a time of continuing COVID-19 restrictions. I especially loved the vast variety of music and musicians. My favourite musician was the Justice Unit’s Peter Branjerdporn, who also coordinated the event. It was great to see him getting up in the spotlight and participating in the event he ran. I loved his folky sound. As a musician, I enjoy the classic combo of a guitar and a good voice.
What struck me about the event was the variety of people who helped and who attended the festival. The diverse group included young and old with lots of kids present, which was great to see. Everyone was really friendly. I saw the variety of people who came up close as I volunteered on one of the COVID-19 check-in counters.
I was not expecting such a mix of people. This experience taught me not to make a judgement before an event about who will be turning up. On Earth Fest was a unique opportunity to celebrate beauty together – the beauty of the arts and the beauty of the earth.
We are all equal in the eyes of God, and we need to start seeing each other as so, rather than measuring each other to be either better or worse. The event showed me that the Church is one body.
Sayesha Dhal – Justice Unit work placement student
The Spirituality and Sustainability Forum was the highlight of the festival for me. The panellists were diverse young people, and included an activist musician, a Baroona Farm volunteer and parishioner, and a First Nations artist. The interactions between the audience and the panellists were refreshing and instilled calm. For example, an audience member, who is originally from an occupied country, asked a question about how people can feel hope when so many things are going wrong in the world, while also saying that the forum was a safe space to share his point of view. Kuku Yalanji woman Lalania Tusa, who was a panellist, said that there is hope in the First Nations space through education and sharing stories of histories and cultures.
After the forum, I had a conversation with a person from the wider Brisbane community who said that his daughter learnt about Aboriginal peoples in France at university. We agreed that it’s important to be hopeful because being hopeful brings hope into the world. I was encouraged by both the panel and the conversation that followed.
Attending the festival instilled calm in me. I connected with lots of diverse people and learnt from their different experiences of, and perspectives on, justice. I spoke to people of different ages, abilities and jobs, as well as LGBTIQ+ people and people from different socio-economic backgrounds. What I observed is that those who attended all cherished shared values about the common good.
The festival brought people together through the arts, as well as justice. Art for me is about authentic expression. The arts connect people, human to human, through honest expression. The arts create space for people to meet each other in an open way and fosters community bonding.
After reflecting on the festival, overall what stood out for me is the pervasiveness of spirituality. I now see spiritualty in a new way – one that goes beyond church, temple or mosque walls.
Emily Pell – young person in our Diocesan community
I really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting such a large group of new friendly, accepting and interesting people. One of the most memorable conversations I had was with Richard Browning from the Anglican Schools Commission, whom I had not seen in a long time. We chatted about the arts and music and the range of activities at the festival.
I really noticed and enjoyed the diversity in the music and workshops that I could participate in. I also really enjoyed the way the performances showed a diverse range of skills. My favourite performer was teenager Naomi Colledge who sang a range of original and covers songs. It was exciting to see young people share their stories through different creative pathways in front of an audience.
It was great that young people could volunteer and give back to their communities at the event. For example, the Food Not Bombs food stall was run by young people, giving them another opportunity to help. The stall raised awareness of others who are not as fortunate and also raised money by selling peace burgers for a donation to recently arrived refugees from Afghanistan.
Attending the event helped me realise that it is important to have a diverse range of techniques and skills to create your best work, as everyone has something unique and interesting to offer. As someone who is interested in performing and storytelling as a career, I discovered that Church can be a place for young people to share their stories with the whole community, especially other young people.
The festival solidified my understanding of how the arts, justice and spirituality intersect. Having the festival as a space created a perfect opportunity for people to come together and learn from each other.Jump to next article