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Music, arts and media at inaugural Southern Cross Arts Festival


Sharlene King
20 March 2015
The inaugural Southern Cross Arts Festival - featuring jazz legend Paul Grabowsky, the band Tora and national campus band competition winners Parkside Orchestra, ARIA award-winning guitarists the Grigoryan Brothers, and exhibitions of visual arts - will launch on Friday March 27 at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University.

Southern Cross Arts Festival is a concept developed by the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University and will involve events at the Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses.

It runs from March to October 2015 and features more than 30 events, including 25 bands and music groups, art exhibitions, creative writing performances and media presentations.

“The premise behind establishing the Arts Festival was to create an exciting series of events that enhanced the on-campus experience for students at Southern Cross University,” said the Festival’s founder and artistic director Professor Matthew Marshall.

“The community is welcome to attend the Festival. Most events are free to the public and full details are available on the festival website,” Professor Marshall said.

Acts will include local and interstate bands like The Babe Rainbow, Tora, and The Demon Parade, alongside Southern Cross University student bands Nocturnal Tapes and Parkside Orchestra (winners of the 2014 National Campus Band Competition).

“We’re also very pleased that the ARIA-winning guitarists Slava and Leonard Grigoryan will also be performing at the Coffs Harbour and Lismore campuses in August,” Professor Mashall said.

“Plus in May our major event at the Gold Coast campus will feature the guitar and didgeridoo combination of Anthony Garcia and William Barton.

“We’re very proud to have a significant Indigenous music component to the Festival and we are privileged to have someone of the reputation of William Barton joining us.”

The Gold Coast event will also feature a two-week long exhibition showcasing the work of the University’s visual arts and media students at the Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre in Coolangatta.

The Arts Festival also features collaborations with the Northern Rivers Conservatorium, the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium and the Coffs Harbour Senior College.

“The opportunity for the University to connect with its partners is an important way to engage with our community to produce tangible outcomes for mutual benefit,” said Professor Marshall.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Conservatoriums to enhance the profile of our respective music activities.”

In Lismore on March 27, the University will be hosting the jazz legend Paul Grabowsky, presented by the Northern Rivers Conservatorium.

Also at the Lismore campus on June 29 is multi-award winning body performance artist Stelarc who will be giving a public presentation on his work which focuses on extending what the human body is capable of.

“Stelarc incorporate elements of robotics, prosthetics, electrical stimulation of the muscles, virtual reality, the internet and biotechnology to interface with the body. He will also be conducting a group session with visual arts students during his visit,” Professor Marshall said.

In Coffs Harbour, in collaboration with the Arts Festival and presented by the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium, will be the Coffs Harbour Guitar Festival (featuring Swedish composer/guitarist Johannes Moller alongside local artists) and the Coffs Harbour String School (featuring artists from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra). Both events will be hosted on campus at SCU.

Also at Coffs Harbour, in August, will be a student art exhibition featuring a $1000 prize for the best artwork on display awarded by the Head of Campus Professor David Lynch.

Professor Marshall said an important feature of the Festival was that it showcased the talent of the University’s creative arts students and staff, alongside award-winning national and international performing artists.

“This is an excellent way of connecting our students with professionals who are working at the highest levels of the creative industries. As well as creating important networking opportunities, it provides our students with role models and inspirational artists to work with and learn from.”

Photo: The Babe Rainbow is one of the bands appearing at the Southern Cross Arts Festival.