Ararat’s youth turned out in force to learn from more than 20 Australian hip hop artists at the weekend.
The inaugural Ararat Hip Hop Festival saw 130 people aged between 11 and their mid-20s take part in a weekend of workshops to learn about all aspects of the music genre.
Groups from Bendigo, Ballarat and Stawell all arrived at the Ararat Town Hall for the two-day event.
The hip hop artists performed for the fans on Saturday night.
Either side of that, workshops were run throughout Saturday, with the children and young adults involved performing their work on Sunday.
Ararat Performing Arts Centre programming and venue co-ordinator Dianne Toulson said the festival had offered young people the chance to experience something they would not normally be able to access.
“We had a film crew from Western Edge Youth Media, they did a lot of interviews with the participants, from the little kids to the adults,” she said.
“They spoke about what hip hop meant to them and what it was like living in Ararat.
“We found there were people who made a lot of friends through this, but also a lot of connections made to people outside of Ararat and in the performing arts community.”
Ms Toulson said the audience for the hip hop festival would continue to build each year.
“It was really well received and a very important things for the town because it could become an annual festival because it is so unique,” she said.
“Jo Snow, who did the graffiti workshops, spent a lot of time with a very young group of people who came.
“There was about 10 aged from 12-15, male and female, they did not want to leave his workshop.
“He pretty much work shopped with them all weekend and you will see a lot of his artwork in the foyer.”
Workshops during the festival covered a range of topics including music production, spoken word poetry and graffiti art.
The artists worked with the festival attendees to share their experience in the performing arts and help give Ararat’s younger generation an understanding of what was involved in producing their work.
There will be challenges ahead for the festival future as well however, with the Ararat Town Hall set to close next year for refurbishment and extension works.
Ms Toulson said the closure would see the Performing Arts Centre take a different approach to the 2017 festival.
“I think we are going to work out whether we can partner with venues in Melbourne to take everyone in Ararat down there next year,” she said.
“Then we would come back for a bigger festival here in 2018.
“A lot of people said I can find a career in this which was great, so it really gave people aspirations for finding a career in the performing arts.”
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