Music & Movements: Young Australians Are Creating Social Change Through Live Music

There’s a lot of very, very tedious noise about how young people are “lazy,” live in “the age of entitlement” and are obsessed with “instant gratification.” We call “bullshit.”

We know, we know – this is a topic that’s been done to DEATH. We’re as bored of it as you are. But if there’s one thing that does get us excited, it’s young people using creativity, social media, and music to disprove the Andrew Bolt-worthy drivel once and for all.

The basic idea of cobbling together a lineup for a cause is not exactly a new phenomenon – benefit concerts have been around for decades. What is new is that the young adults in Australia are using their own means to create, participate in, and attend events that make socio-political issues not only accessible, but desirable. Suddenly, we’re living in a landscape where it’s the norm for youth to care about what goes on in the world, and to actually DO something about it.

And there’s no dearth of these events, either. From The Foundry’s quarterly Brisbabes events which aim to put women front and centre in an industry that can be at best difficult to navigate and at worst glaringly sexist; all the way to the free, mobile monthly Roving Conspiracy events. Spearheaded by Greens Councillor Jonathon Sri (before he was elected), the events provide a place for young creative minds to meet and for fledgling bands to cut their teeth, also serves as “a space for people to inform themselves about political activism and keep updated about ongoing protest actions.” The Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network, or BRASS, is also staging one such event, which co-organiser Camille Furtado believes is popular as it provides a kind of entry into the world of socio-political activism that feels familiar, safe, and fun. “We wanted to reach the ”honkers” -the people who drove past Lady Cilento in their cars and honked in support of the doctors and nurses who wouldn’t let a baby and her family be deported to danger. They were happy to show their support in that way, but would not necessarily come along to a protest.”

Without a doubt, there have always been young people who care about these issues, but didn’t feel comfortable attending an actual protest. “We think that social movements need to have an arts element to them… this is because music allows for an outlet, it brings people together in a different way to a rally, or protest, it adds a point of difference that is non-violent, non-threatening and in some instances thought provoking,” says Furtado.

Support for this class of events is only growing, as more and more young people get involved. That can only be a good thing – and honestly, if something involves helping enact positive change as well as the equally worthy cause of bolstering your local music scene, you can sign us the hell up.

Words by Liz Ansley

Image: Roving Conspiracy / Facebook