ACT Youth Week is in full swing, and on Friday afternoon, 26 March, City Walk will be humming with young Canberrans enjoying free live music, dance, lawn games, the merry-go-round, and a chill out space.
A vibrant and diverse line-up of young local talent will take the stage, including First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse, and non-binary performers.
Capital Region Community Services youth engagement coordinator Josh White said the event had gained a lot more traction than they expected, and it was designed to recognise the talent and effort of young Canberran creatives.
“For us, we want an event where people can come and celebrate young people within our community,” he said.
“The idea is that we can see young people take ownership of those city spaces, feel safe, and for it to be what they want it to be.”
“If they have dreams to become performers, that it’s validated by the people around them.”
Self-taught musician Beau Sykes will headline the show, the winner of Belco’s Got Talent 2020, with acoustic guitar in hand.
Sykes isn’t a stranger to getting up on stage, he has plenty of experience gigging in pubs, restaurants and wineries around the region.
But he said tomorrow’s show will have more sentimental value than others, because instead of playing covers he’ll be playing his own songs.
“I’m looking forward to playing my originals mainly, getting those stories and messages out there to the world,” he said.
“Every time I play them it’s one step forward.”
When Sykes was six years old his foster dad, a music teacher, sparked his interest in guitar by teaching him his first three chords.
He took that lesson and ran with it; to date he’s written two albums and is onto his third.
It’s hard to pick one genre for his style, which is influenced by soul, blues, country, rock, and “a bit of funk and reggae”.
Last year’s talent quest took place on social media because of COVID-19, and until now contestants haven’t had the chance to perform in concert together.
The crowd can look forward to the energetic sounds of 14-piece horn-led funk band, Chicken Salt, sister duets by The Prettirinas, and more.
There’s no need to RSVP to this fun-filled public event celebrating Canberrans between the ages of 12-25, run by Capital Region Community Services with help from City Renewal Canberra.
Events will continue throughout the weekend, supported by a $20,000 ACT Government 2021 Youth Week Grants Program that distributed funding to 14 recipients, including public colleges, headspace Canberra, Unions ACT, Multicultural Hub Canberra and the African Gospel Band.
The chill out space at Friday’s city event will be hosted by grant recipient A Gender Agenda, which aims to support intersex, transgender and gender diverse communities in the region.
ACT deputy chief minister Yvette Berry, who is responsible for Education and Youth Affairs and Sport and Recreation portfolios, congratulated the grant recipients.
“I’m thrilled we received such diverse submissions and I look forward to seeing the fantastic initiatives during the week,” she said.
ACT Youth Week is held from Monday 22 March to Thursday 1 April 2021.
For information on ACT Youth Week events visit the Community Services website.
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