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Zeitgeist Media Festival Australia 2016

Another year had come again for the Zeitgeist Movement Brisbane to put on our annual Zeitgeist Media Festival for 2016. This year, the festival was in the awesome New Globe Theatre in the trendy Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

The New Globe very kindly gave us their awesome venue for the whole day and we certainly enjoyed every moment of our being there. The day began at 11am, although many of us were already there bright and early at 10am to set up for the day, putting up thought-provoking and evocative art and posters around the place, creating an atmosphere for the Zeitgeist spirit of change and awareness.

Groups of lively, friendly faces started to walk in and I was thrilled to see some of the familiar supporters, along with some new faces who looked excited to be there.

We kicked off the festival with an opening speech, where I thanked the traditional owners of the land we were standing on, recognising that it too had always been a place of music, festivals and community gatherings. I explained what the festival was all about, reminding everyone of the power that artists, musicians and poets can have for creating change and creating awareness.

Without further ado, we had our first musician, the lovely Patch Feeney get on stage to magnetise us with his funky 12 string guitar and deep sardonic voice. We were blown away by his talent and his humble attitude. Up next we were serenaded by the beautiful Aceso who played some heart-warming indie-jazz tunes. She is truly a visionary artist who is clearly inspired by everything she sees, hears and feels and her lyrics had spoke to a powerful reminder of the corruption that exists in our world, created by money.

Followed by these powerful messages, we then moved towards a new style of art in the form of slam poetry, delivered by the talented Claire Ellison. Claire’s poetry was powerful and very much slammed the door in the face of all the preconceptions we’d had of poetry by making us see her raw feelings come alive on issues that spoke of gender equality, love and social norms. It was truly eye-opening and we’d love to hear more from this talented poet.

In line with the spoken word form, we had rapper Tu appear on stage next who brought to light powerful socio-political issues that face our world and our country, such as immigration, detention centres and the recent Trump election. It was funny, intelligent and truthful. We were lucky to have artists like this deliver messages that are so relevant for what the Zeitgeist movement is about.

Following Tu, I selfishly took to the stage, with my guitarist Barry Kopittke, in my cover-band duo Beautiful Noise. We enticed the audience with our cover songs from artists such as Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, The Eurythmics and Bob Dylan, all talking about problems with the system and the darkness that can creep into humanity if we let it.

We then took the liberty of having a lunch break, and it was wonderful to see everyone mingling and having deep conversations, particularly in the art corner where drawings and discussions were being had on what our values are and the direction humanity can go in. It was so inspiring and amazing that our festival provoked this.

After our lunch break, the very talented and soulful Jan Rainbow joined the stage and played us some heart-felt melodies on acoustic guitar and vocals which were comprised of her originals as well as the moving Teardrop song by Massive Attack. It was so calming and beautiful to listen to and reminded me of what it would be like to live in a more connected community, with musicians who sang from the heart like this and roused such emotion.

Following the beautiful Jan, we had psychedelic Rock and Roll Blues poet, known as The Duke, take to the stage whose talented original songs demonstrated what it is like to see modern society through a distorted reflection of a pessimistic youth in disarray. It was provocative, raw and catchy and definitely got everyone in the mood.

Following The Duke, we had the headlining big band for the day, Fugitive & the Vagabond take to the New Globe main stage. Fugitive were a real treat to the ears and soul with their unique folky sound which spoke to troubles that face us all in this modern age of wealth disparity and social division. We look forward to hearing more from these talented musicians.

And last, but certainly not least we closed the day with sounds from the very talented and very enigmatic Beauregard Chambers on acoustic-electric guitar and vocals. His brooding voice and compelling guitar playing made us all astounded as we listened to his pleasant mix of folk, funk, rock and metal. We were so happy to have him close the day for us and look forward to hearing more from him.

And with that it was all over, the festival drew to a close at last by 5:00pm, it was such a fantastic day, I had so much fun that I couldn’t believe it was all over so quickly. But none of this could be achieved without the help and support of the New Globe Theatre for giving us their venue for the day, their staff and sound technician, the generous donations we received at the door and the hard-working Zeitgeist volunteers who gave their time in providing yummy vegan food and help throughout the day where it was needed.

It was obvious to me that everyone was here because we all agree that we want a better world and want a future where there is peace, abundance, collaboration, a clean environment, positive technologies, improved health, sharing and respect for all. I think it is important, now more than ever, that we get thinking about how we can fix the broken mess that our world finds itself in and we focus on our commonalities and not our differences, and start to do whatever little we can to inspire change. Events like this are just the start, and I believe that we can start to work together to create a better future for us all. I cannot wait to see what happens and I look forward to working with more like-minded people and to create another festival that will inspire this type of change! Until next year – peace out!


Zeitgeist Media Festival Wrap-up

The lead up was full on. The program was tight. The sound equipment was always going to pose challenges. And the Brisbane chapter of the Zeitgeist Movement mastered all challenges, learned many valuable lessons on the way and put on an event that will be long remembered as fun and chilled-out while also being informative and carrying a powerful message of empowerment.


The day began with the setup of the venue. What a strange feeling to be at the iconic Rumpus Room in the heart of West End at 9.30am! We moved seats and tables, put up fabric across windows to display art and set up the creative corner and workshop tables with art supplies. Blu Tack was in high demand. We set up a clothes drive outside for all those people who were in need. All the while the tech team was busy sorting out cables, leads, stands, speakers and and and… it was a great feeling to make the venue our own!





Our members started trickling in. More art, more instruments, cakes, board games and helping hands. Simon Cole’s beautiful banner designed by Casey went up above the front doors. What a team!


It was nearly 11am. Where are the people? Ah well, we don’t start till 11.30 anyway. Give ’em time, we know what it’s like. No stress – that had been our motto all along, and our generous hosts at the Rumpus Room had added to that vibe over the months – Nathan and Leon are the most chilled-out guys an inexperienced event organiser like myself could have hoped for! Then the guests started to arrive.


We started at 11.30. Casey rocked the mic in her usual nonchalant style that we all love and admire.



Our first musician was Damien Cooper who had traveled up from Lismore. A worthy opener for ZMF 2015 delivering a mix of excellent covers and original songs with a gorgeous voice, aided by a fancy foot pedal and some fine guitar skills.


Next up was John Gordon, a one-time environmental engineer, long-time activist against coal mining and fracking, and singer songwriter from Alloura in the Darling Downs. His songs carried a powerful message. Australia’s mining industry is rampant, corrupt and does not take into account the long-term impacts of its operations. Check out John’s protest song “Australia, whore of the world”, it gives me goose bumps every time.


Rhi Smith was up next. An aspiring actor, she performed the final scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Great Dictator”. More goosebump material. And the technical feedback issues from our mix and match sound gear did not faze Rhi in the slightest – as she said herself later: The show must go on! And what a visionary Charlie was, ripping into capitalism like that almost 100 years ago!


Then it was my turn! Presentation time! And time to drive the Solarpunk train right into my eager audience. I was finally feeling a little nervous. All seats were filled, standing room only – everybody was curious to hear about this brand new genre which aligns perfectly with TZM’s visions and values. Positive future fiction, anyone? Yes, of course I also plugged my soon-to-be-published Solarpunk novel “The Last Patriarchs” as well as my dream/plan for an artist collective in Brisbane, Australia and the world!


And then it was finally time for The TZM Brisbane Band to show and tell. Anita Diamond, Aceso, Barry Kopittke and Clayt Tomson started jamming together when we began to organise they performed the TZM theme song, the Rise Against cover ‘Hero of War‘ and even an original composition. Great conscious tunes and we look forward to hearing more!


We had scheduled an Open Mic Session next, but everybody seemed to have such a great time mingling and networking that we ran with the way things were going. The festival vibe really was in full swing. The creative corner was bustling, Zac’s board games were getting a work out and Lafe’s Charlton’s workshop had people get in touch with their inner child.





It was great to see our visitors checking out the artwork from a range of local artists – the inspiring paintings of blockades in Tara and the Pilliga State Forest by environmental activist Frida Forsberg (who is now part of Brisbane’s ‘Clean Air Alliance’ that is campaigning to get coal trains chugging throught 21 suburbs covered to protect residents from coal dust) – the beautiful, trippy and at times haunting drawings by Liezl Le Roux Garbrielle Fernandez’ inspiring comics that convey complex topics in a simplistic way – the animal photography by wildlife carer Jess Gibbins – the interactive puzzle of the world by Minou Duval which carried several powerful messages for peace and unity – Aceso‘s gorgeous Peace Angel hugging Earth to her chest – the Lojban showcase by Timothy Diamond. On top of that were drawings by Casey, James Hill and myself as well as prints of inspirational Solarpunk and TZM-themed art.




The place was buzzing. So much networking, so many chats. So much appreciation for each other. The vibe was so chilled-out, pretty much like all of TZM Brisbane’s events, which is one of the many reasons why I love to be a part of it!


After the break it was Aceso’s turn to give a voice to nature and transport us collectively to another world. Seriously, she was SO good. Everybody said that, not just me. On the piano, then on the guitar, all the while mesmerising us with her beautiful voice and performing all her own material. Neither Casey nor I had the heart to stop this talented young woman (and just maybe we forgot to look at the time, too…) and Aceso went a bit over her time slot – but what the heck, we had done so well staying on schedule so far! Leon and Nathan weren’t fazed about a slightly later end to the day of course, and Aceso finished her set even though we probably could have listened to her for another 45 minutes…


It was time for our short film and trailer! And time for some serious sound hickups, not that our camera woman Candice Stone was thrown off by that. She is a film maker with a mission and her speech moved us all. Muddy Scales is a community-based documentary highlighting the Great Barrier Reef and the coastal developments, especially mining, that are building alongside it. Mining and its fallout have a massive impact on the reef, the land and the community. Near Mackay the pristine homeland of the local Aboriginal community is threatened by the Urannah dam proposal which is supposed to supply water for the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin. Candice spoke about the generosity of the people she met on the way and about the love for this land, this Earth, that makes us stand up to corporations and governments. Muddy Scales will be out soon, exciting times! We would like to thank Candice once again for taking time out of her busy schedule to film our event and wish her all the best for the journey ahead!

And here I should mention our very special guest Scuppers, the semi-wild Goose who had come all the way down from Cairns. She has her own facebook page advocating for her home – the ocean and the reef and the great land that is not just our home, but also hers.

“We have a special guest here, it’s a goose. Can she hang out in the outside area there?” I asked Leon, just another oddball request for the day.


“Sure, of course, bring her in!” he replied, unfazed, sharing a memory about his own escaped pet goose. So Scuppers joined us in the Rumpus Room and supported Candice, and what a personality this gorgeous bird has, what a powerful voice of nature!


Our closing act was Epoxy Love from Bindarabbi. TZM Brisbane visits sustainable communities all around Australia and met this lovely duo on one of our recent excursions to the eco community. Mic and sound issues prevented Jade and Christopher from performing together, but their music and message was loud and clear and full of humour and insight. More love, less fear. We look forward to see you perform together at our next event!


Time for prizes and closing words! The mic’s had had enough. Ah well, I can raise my voice good and swell.


We had three $250 gift cards to give away that were generously donated to us by deep grey photographic studios. One went to Leon and Nathan from the Rumpus Room (and I sure look forward to see their portraits up on the wall there soon!), one to Candice and her campaign (seriously, she added so much to our event by offering her help and expertise and I can’t wait to check out the final edit of our big event! Get to it, editor-in-chief-Eris!) and one to said Eris and Matt who formed our tech team and did an absolutely stellar job with the mixed and matched sound gear.


After another big thanks to our hosts, all helpers and guests (and a call-out to anyone who could help with the pack up) it was over. Not that it’s really over. It feels more like it’s the beginning! The buzz in the air, all the new connections formed…
TZM Brisbane is alive and kicking, and we look forward to building a bright, positive future, full of sharing and collaboration, in an RBE where we can have festivals like this one all the time!

One massive thanks to Comet, who is not just one of our members but also hosts EcoRadio on Brisbane’s much-loved and always supportive local community radio station 4zzz. Thank you for your untiring work and love for the planet – your support and connections definitely brought our event up a few levels!


And of course a huge thanks to all our other helpers and guests who came and made this event so special, including those who brought yummy healthy snacks.


Our theme for the event was empowerment. What we realised in Saturday was that we were not just empowered by the amazing performers and artworks, even though that was a big part of it. But rather, our whole group was empowered by putting on this event. I myself got huge doses of empowerment as the main organiser, having never done anything like it before. It forced me to come out of my introvert’s shell, liaise with a range of people, extend my network and learn to stay centered and calm under pressure. The event empowered the team spirit in Casey and me as we reflected over post-festival drinks what a great team we make. The appreciation and gratitude from our members, guests and artists translated into an uplifted, empowered Zeitgeist in all of us, and that is our goal after all, not just for TZM Brisbane, but for the whole world!



Additional photos and videos coming soon.