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By: Clare Bruce

Another incredible lineup is set to grace the stage and get revellers dancing – and thinking deeply – at Beyond Festival this year in the Kangaroo Valley.

More than 30 bands, singers, speakers, justice advocates and performance artists will gather for three days from November 23 to 25 at Kangaroo Valley Showground, to create what organisers are calling a ‘gentle revolution’ – a celebration of music, art and justice. 

Headlining is Gungor – Grammy-nominated duo Michael and Lisa Gungor from the USA, whose passion for justice, truth and social change permeates their sound. They’ll also lead workshops on meditation and give readings from Lisa’s new book The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder. 

The sublime vocals of Katie Noonan will also feature, along with indie electronica artist Woodes (Elle Graham), bluesmen the Matt Roberts Trio, Sydney trio St Joan, Polynesian soul-gospel wonder Karen Lee Andrews (famous for her performances on The Voice), and the 19-year-old moody-pop sensation East – famed for her moody, infectious breakup song Life Goes On 

Above: Colin Lillie, Karen Andrews

Newcomers include Scottish-born Northern Territorian Colin Lillie – who stepped into the spotlight this year as part of ‘Team George’ on The Voice – as well as emerging Sydney electro-pop outfit Janey, made up of siblings Billy and Sarah Otto, Christina Mitchell on keys, and former Gang of Youths drummer Sam O’Donnell. They’re best known for their addictive and joyful Today Could Be The Daynow the catchy sound of Jetstar’s latest ad campaign.    

Return artists include Christian rock stalwart Paul Colman, the Café at the Gate of Salvation choir, blues singer Mike McCarthy, spoken word artist Joel McKerrow, and festival darlings the Hot Potato Band, loved for their 10-piece big brass sound.  

Watch: Gungor’s ‘Hurricane’

Hope in the Face of Domestic Violence

This year’s social justice focus is gender-based violence, with speakers from White Ribbon, UnitingCare and Baptist Care drawing attention to domestic violence issues, and creating hope for positive change. Event director Andrew Palmer said while it’s a heavy topic, a communal response is a powerful way to address domestic violence.  

“It’s a really hard issue to tackle alone, because gendered violence is really scary,” he said. “So when we have an opportunity to stand together and get equipped with really good facts around the issues, it really enables us to engage that profoundly destructive social issue in a meaningful way.  

“We want to gather in our local communities, churches, sporting clubs, schools… to be part of a better solution. That’s a gentle revolution.” 

“We want practical outcomes… to gather in our local communities, churches, sporting clubs, schools, in order to not just tell a better story, but also to be part of a better solution. That’s a gentle revolution.” 

Other festival speakers will include Welcome to Australia founder Brad Chilcott, Aboriginal justice advocate Brooke Prentis, ecological ethicist Dr Byron Smith, and author and theologian Mike Frost speaking from the theme of his latest book, Keeping Christianity Weird. 

Food, Wine and Fairtrade Markets

Like all good fringe festivals, Beyond is set up like a temporary village complete with fairtrade markets, food and wine, and opportunities for networking and forming new friendships around common causes.  

Beyond Festival was birthed from the ashes of Black Stump, a Christian youth music event that ran every year for three decades until 2014. It has morphed to not only embrace social justice, but also to more inclusive of other community groups, beliefs and age groups. 

In the final days before the event, organisers have launched an appeal to raise $10,000 towards preventing domestic violence, with the $10K in 10 Days challenge. Entry is $189 for adults and $142 for students for the full three days, with $10 from every ticket sold going to Baptistcare’s violence prevention programs. Reduced ticket prices apply for one-day passes. Book at beyondfestival.com.au/tickets.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Clare is a digital journalist for the Broadcast Industry.

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