Published: 31 August 2018

SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS Tuesday 28 August, 2018

Ms  FORREST  (Murchison) - Mr President, it is with great excitement I speak about The 2018 Unconformity.  Members will recall me speaking about this amazing arts and heritage festival that is held every two years in Queenstown on our beautiful west coast.  The Unconformity is a contemporary arts festival exploring the paradoxes of Queenstown, a small mining community in the electorate of Murchison on our wild and mountainous west coast.

This year's festival, held from 19 to 21 October, will give us all a chance to experience that community's unmatched sense of place.  I note my additional interest in this great festival as being a member of The Unconformity board.  Many have asked why the festival is called The Unconformity and that is clearly articulated on their website.  The festival is called The Unconformity -

Because we do not conform. We cannot afford to.

Nothing here conforms. Not the mine-ravaged hills that rise to the rain clouds in such stark contrast to the lush, green rainforest that envelopes the rest of the valley and beyond.

A moonlike landscape in the most unlikeliest of places - barren, rocky beauty?

Or despicable environmental carnage inflicted in the pursuit of making money?

A valley pillaged and ultimately exhausted? Or a geological marvel whose riches were only matched by the ingenuity of those who mined it?

Is this a sad, old mining town still clinging to a forlorn hope its ore-bearing lifeline will awaken from her slumber and yet again share her riches?

Or a community embracing change, pursuing opportunities in a new creative economy and forging an exciting future, with an eye on its unique, century-old past?

The Unconformity has won awards and accolades, but it is the community that inspires and sustains it.  The community has compelled us to grow this year's festival, including the extraordinarily popular and hugely oversubscribed artist-in-residence program.  Queenstown is a remarkable place and home to a resilient and proud community adopting contemporary values to overcome profound local challenges.  The emergence of a thriving arts community is having a positive impact on the town and region, with so many incredible artists now living in the region.  This is a community that chooses to celebrate what it has, a town which is a paradox, incongruous, where cultural contradictions jostle for attention.

This year's festival will be mining new cultural experiences at the edge of the world.  The cover of this year's program, which every member has a copy of, features the confluence of the King and Queen rivers.  The Queen River is biologically dead at this point and is a very real example of the legacy of the past, something that Queenstowners and the Unconformity board and team do not shy away from.  It is what it is.  Engagement with the arts can encourage and discover other means to address and mitigate this legacy.  Solutions are often found through the arts.

The opening event will truly be a celebration of the geological history of the west coast.  It is entitled 'Tectonica'.  As the program states -

Using bloody big speaker stacks on the main street, Tectonica will use sounds to tell the geological story of the West Coast - from 500 million years ago until today. Tectonica will kick-off on Friday at sunset with a rumble that will set the scene for a weekend of the epic noise and vibrations of volcanoes, geysers, earthquakes and meteorite hits. Ending on Sunday, we celebrate Queenstown's most recent great geological event - AC/DC's 1976 visit - with an earth shattering hour of their greatest tracks. BOOM!

Mr President, that is how the program describes it, and I am sure you all cannot wait to go. There is a special note in the program that says this project is loud, not a surprise.  Earplugs are available before and during the event.  We need to remember that people's hearing needs to be protected - you will hear it and you will feel it.  It will be a bit like 'The Rumble' two years ago.  Members who were there will remember that.

I encourage all members to read the program, in hard copy or online, to appreciate the program's breadth and variety of offerings, many of which are free to attend.  Share it with family and friends and set aside some time to attend this not-to-be-missed festival.  You will need to book online, and you can book from 12 September to ensure you have tickets to the events you want to attend.  Many sold out quickly last year, and you will need to buy yours now.

If you plan to stay - it is a fair drive and once we have you down there we tend to keep you - you will need to book accommodation.  You will need to book it soon, but it will need to be in Zeehan or Strahan because all the accommodation in Queenstown is sold out.  As the website suggests, you can dismiss us, you can understand us, but come along and make up your mind.  When you come back, which I am sure you will, do not expect things to be the same.  See you there.


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