The year 2020 was a difficult year for more than most. The arts industry beyond a doubt felt the impact of lockdowns, venue capacities, and cancellation of events. But perhaps, most importantly, the demoralisation of those who enjoy participating in the activities in the arts and entertainment sector. So this year when Propel Youth Arts announced that they would be coming back with the KickstART festival during Youth Week WA, it certainly had people’s hopes up—including the team behind the scenes that make it all work.
This year I was fortunate enough to work with the team at Propel and covered many of the events throughout the Festival. What does it take to be a drag king? Can we capture the essence of urbanness through sketching? Can guided meditation help us achieve a sense of peace when the world is in chaos? How can hip-hop help us find an authentic version of ourselves? How can men’s mental health be addressed? How can I capture the stars through astrophotography? All these and more were explored throughout the 7 days of amazing workshops that kicked off on the 9th of April. Conducted both online and in-person all around Perth, these workshops welcomed people of all ages and skillsets to join in on the fun, ask questions and get creative.
The main festival day on the 10th of April welcomed people to immerse in the culture, shop, eat and listen to live performances at Forrest Chase. A number of little stalls were set up by local businesses, run by people of diverse backgrounds and ages. The products ranged from home and beauty items, art and illustrations, jewellery and accessories, clothing, and much more. Brilliant live performances by Siobhan Cotchin, Muscle Club, Claudie Joy & the Boys, and Noah Dillon kept everyone in high spirits.
The music and mingle nights provided an opportunity to everyone in the arts industry or simply people interested in them to come together, talk, enjoy the music, and eat. Likewise, the high-energy and vivid performances by Drag Queens and Kings were highly anticipated and loved by an all-age audience. Tea & Symphony made people’s afternoons cosy at PICA while they indulged in a selection of warm teas and soothing live music by local artists.
Finally, the amphitheatre closing party on the 16th of April was an event that everyone looked forward to as the audience was joined by some of Perth’s most well-known bands and artists like the folk band Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks, Adrian Dzvuke with his lively RnB and Afrobeats, Queerlectro pop group Alter boy, Smol Fish, and Sofa. Each performer brought their own energy, kept people mesmerised and on their feet throughout their performances.
Overall, the festival has been exactly what the City of Perth needed at the beginning of this year, and most especially the arts community. Going forward, in continuation of this year’s theme of the festival of ‘Finding Our Path’, hopefully, everyone can immerse themselves in things that can help them find joy, knowledge, and their inner creativity through more of Propel Youth Arts’ work in hosting the KickstART festival every year.
Check out the Youth Week WA KickstART Festival 2021 Highlights Video below!