With all of the closures, disruptions and restrictions to be imposed for the duration of the G20 Summit later this month, it is going to be a very frustrating time for anybody who lives, works or visits Brisbane CBD and/or Southbank during this time. It is actually hard to see the benefits to be gained by welcoming despots and dictators (Vladimir Putin anybody?) into our fair city for a gathering that will, in all likelihood, achieve very little. There are those who believe that hosting G20 the G20 leaders and the thousands of accompanying staff and media will not only bring an immediate financial windfall for some industries – hotel occupancy will, apparently, be at 100% during this time – but there also seems to be a general acceptance that there will be significant ongoing benefits through tourism and the like. Of course, it is hard to know what the likely long term benefit will really be and I think it’s important we weigh up whether any such benefit is worth the considerable restrictions and scrutiny that Brisbane residents will have to endure during this period. Do our day-to-day activities really pose a threat to world leaders? It does seem an awful lot of time, money and effort is being outlaid just so Tony Abbott can get a happy snap with various international figureheads, some of whom we really should be condemning rather than welcoming with open arms.
So, do Brisbane people really have anything to look forward to during this time? Thankfully, yes. With the eyes of the world on them, the Queensland Government is staging a variety of arts and cultural events in conjunction with the G20 Summit that includes a series of free music performances in numerous venues around the city. The G20 Music Program will run for 24 days and will include artists as diverse as Busby Marou, Emma Louise, James Morrison, Robert Forster, The Medics, Velociraptor, The Phoncurves, Don Walker, Sampology, Sahara Beck and many more at a variety of unique venues, with all events completely FREE.
Some of the more exciting and/or interesting shows that will feature as part of the G20 Music Program include Emma Louise at the Hi-Fi Bar on October 25, The Medics also at The Hi-Fi on November 11 and a under 18’s show from Velociraptor at the Music Industry College. Meanwhile in the suburbs, Band of Frequencies and Good Oak will play New Farm Bowls Club on October 31, Busby Marou are at Bramble Bay Bowls Club on November 6 and Robert Forster plays Enoggera Bowls Club on November 7, with Don Walker appearing at Toowong Bowls Club November 8.
One of the most interesting series of events on the schedule are the Longplayer Sessions at The Zoo in which local artists perform one of their favourite albums in its entirety. The first of these double-header shows on October 30 will feature Sahara Beck (Elvis Presley’s The Sun Sessions) and The Phoncurves (Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby). On November 6, My Fiction (Regurgitator’s Unit) and Orphans Orphans (taking on 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia by The Dandy Warhols) hit the stage, with the final show on November 13 featuring Karl S. Williams (Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen) and Kristy Apps & The Shotgun Shirleys playing tribute to the self-titled debut album by The Indigo Girls.
There are plenty more events on the schedule, spanning all musical styles from jazz, classical, folk, pop, rock, opera and electronica. In fact, there are more than 40 events in the music program alone, with circus, dance and visual art also on offer over the 24 days, including a free Queensland Ballet performance of Coppelia at River Stage on November 9.
To find out more information about the entire schedule of events for the G20 Cultural Program, visit their website or Facebook page. To see the complete schedule of FREE music events scheduled in conjunction with G20, click here.
There is no doubt that the State Government has organised these events to compensate for the inconvenience that we will experience as a result of G20, all the while trying to present themselves to international observers as a benevolent administration, even if the truth is something altogether different. However, we should certainly embrace the opportunity that has been presented and enjoy as many of these free events as possible as the line-up is pretty darn impressive. Wouldn’t it be great though, if when the international spotlight has been extinguished, a program of events such as this was to become an annual fixture, enabling the people of Brisbane and surrounds access to free arts and cultural events that might otherwise be out of reach?