The Northern Rivers is to host a national hip hop summit. And it's not all about performance. It's about young people, culture and community.
"It has a lot of different elements. A conference is the best way to describe it in one word," the event's creative director Zahra Smith told The Echo. "During the day there'll be workshops and forums, and in the evenings it's shows from the artists."
Local youth arts organisation the Creative Peoples Collective (CPC) has received a government grant to help finance the three-day event, called Beats n Roots.
"We are so excited to be able to bring together high-calibre artists and industry professionals from around the country to share skills and knowledge with each other and with young participants," Zahra said.
The aim of Beats n Roots is to empower young people of all backgrounds; to provide them with skills to create brighter futures; and to celebrate their communities.
"Hip hop culture is very popular with Indigenous populations. Displaced cultures around the world have hip hop as common ground," Zahra said. "Hip hop doesn't mean you have to abandon your cultural identity. I could be a Christian African and I could jam with a Muslim. Hip hop is a voice for oppressed people."
Beats n Roots will run from April 26-28 at Lismore City Hall, MultiTask in Lismore, and Crankfest in Evans Head.
The event will feature workshops (dance, music, art, graffiti, business), performances and forums from internationally-recognised groups such as Mayibuye, Blackrobats, Global Hip Hop Collective, Slippery Circus, MotionPoets Art, and Illusive Entertainment. More will be announced as planning proceeds.
There'll also be local talent. So far Supafresh, Raw Elementz and Inspired Youth have been confirmed to perform.
"People are coming for all over Australia - Melbourne, Sydney Brisbane, far north Queensland," Zahra said. "It's about bringing everyone together to talk about things that connect community. We want to encourage youth leadership and use the arts as a vehicle for change. We're trying to get community organisations like the police to attend and to discuss issues for young people.
"A lot of young local Indigenous people will be involved in presenting the event. But it's for everybody. Beats n Roots is not targetting one particular group. Like we got girls coming from Melbourne who are African refugees. They'll be holding dance workshops, performing and participating in the conference."
Tickets for Beats n Roots are $85 for the three days. Concession and group discounts are available.
You can also book for individual workshops.
The CPC is also looking for volunteers to help with the event.
For more info phone Zahra from the Creative Peoples Collective on 6680 2273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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