GET ready to learn how to hip hop and take part in flash mobs all over the Northern Rivers region because the Beats n Roots National Hip Hop Summit and Youth Arts Leadership Conference is here.
From today until Sunday, venues in Lismore, Byron Bay and Evans Head will play host to some of the freshest young talent bringing their performance skills to the stage, offering a series of free dance, music, circus and production skills workshops, as well as performances, film screenings and a gnarly show of skateboarding at Crankfest Xtreme.
After raising more than $2000 through online donations, Beats n Roots organisers Nadine and Zahra Smith from the Creative People's Collective (CPC) have been able to offer everything at the event for free.
"But we have a limited capacity, so people should get in quick if they want to take part in one of the workshops," Zahra said.
"Beats n Roots is the most exciting project we have coordinated as it brings together so many things we are passionate about in such a powerful and awesome way. Everything the CPC has been doing for the past few years has been leading up to this and we hope it will grow to become an annual event for the region."
Zahra isn't afraid to think big and is going overseas later this year, hoping to make contacts with performers around the globe. "In two or three years we could be bringing them to Australia where they can teach local young people," she said.
This year Phaedra Craig, Kirsty Williams and Jemma Wason-Brim, from Blackrobats, have made the journey down from Far North Queensland to teach their unique style of hip hop dancing and circus skills at the Beats n Roots event.
"Hip hop is an important and powerful vehicle that helps us connect with young people, especially those who are struggling at school," Nadine Smith said.
"It gives them an outlet and engages them with learning. "Hip Hop is a vehicle for the people, a platform for us to have our voices heard. Through hip hop we can connect and find common ground. We can sample and share our cultures, communicate about our current world and connect with our history."
Some of the Thursday and Friday program highlights include master classes, workshops and performances to be held at Multitask in Lismore from 10am to 5pm.
Friday night will feature a showcase at Lismore City Hall at 6pm. On Saturday, Crankfest Xtreme will take place at Evans Head (see www.crankfestxtreme.com for information) and on Sunday, from 11am to 2pm, a Morganics documentary film screening will take place at Byron Bay YAC, followed by a hip hop master-class and arts worker round table forum. From 2pm to 5pm, a Beats in the Bay Music Gig featuring some of the best artists from the Beats n Roots program will be on at the Byron YAC. For more information about Beats n Roots, visit the website www.beatsnroots.com or find it on Facebook.