Feast Festival creates queer arts hub for South Australia

Feast Feast Queer Hub - photo by Robert KnapmanAdelaide’s Feast Festival has secured Raj House in the City’s East End to create an arts hub to showcase South Australian LGBTI Queer Arts and Culture.

In 2015 Feast Festival generated an economic impact of over $9M within the 15 day Festival period, by operating over the whole year this economic impact is expected to increase and attract more interstate and international travel ensuring a solid return on investment.

This “Queer Arts and Cultural Hub” will be a space for emerging LGBTIQ artists to create and workshop their art and nurture artistic originality. The Premier, Mr. Jay Weatherill is committed to supporting the venture with the State Government providing $150,000 in funding for the hub.

“We are pleased to support the Feast Festival in this way and help the organisation create a permanent Queer Arts and Cultural Hub in the heart of Adelaide,” said Premier Jay Weatherill.

The initiative will also create more jobs for South Australian’s in the Arts and Hospitality Industry solidifying SA’s reputation as the Festival State, and with a new Queer Arts Hub never before seen in Australia the artistic excellence of the State is set to spread nationally and internationally!

“The State Government is committed to creating a more inclusive and tolerant South Australia and celebrating and supporting our LGBTIQ community is one way to do this,” said Premier Weatherill.

Feast’s General Manager, Cassandra Liebeknecht, who spearheaded the concept, is passionate to ensure this move happens successfully. “This move is very important, it ensures the Festival can continue providing for the LGBTIQ community and ensure its financial viability for years to come, and could potentially be the precedent for other LGBTIQ Festivals across the nation to follow suit,” said Ms Liebeknecht.

Off the success of the 2015 Festival and the exposure that Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst brought, the Festival’s momentum has never seen brighter days, with the acquisition of the new Queer Arts and Cultural Hub and the increased funding from Adelaide City Council for the next 3 years – the 2016 Festival is set to continue the generation of significant vibrancy to the city and the State.

“Feast Festival is another great celebration of inclusivity, so our message is everyone is welcome in Adelaide and South Australia to celebrate inclusiveness and creativity,” said Lord Mayor Martin Haese.

Having the permanent space means that the Festival isn’t just active at the end of the year. Feast can participate as a festival venue year round showcasing Queer Art and Culture specific shows and events that will mutually benefit all involved, this in turn will provide a 12 month income stream for the Festival.

An initiative like the Queer Arts and Cultural Hub is just one way the State Government is supporting the LGBTIQ community, they are also addressing major societal issues that still face the community today. “We’re also looking at how we can do this in other areas of society, not just the arts,” said Premier Weatherill.

“This includes reforming our State laws. We have identified more than 140 pieces of South Australian legislation that discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and I plan to introduce bills based on this in State Parliament.”

The 2016 Feast Festival runs 21 October – 6 November. For more information, visit: www.feast.org.au for details.

Image: Premier Jay Weatherill (centre) with Feast Festival General Manager Cassandra Liebeknecht, Katrine Hildyard MP, Lord Mayor Martin Haese and some of Adelaide’s extraordinary talent – photo by Robert Knapman

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