Band Mouldy Lovers has pulled out of the G20 cultural program. Photo: Supplied Vladimir Putin will visit Brisbane for the G20, but won’t hear Mouldy Lovers play. Photo: Marko Djurica
Brisbane band The Mouldy Lovers has cancelled its lucrative gig at the G20 Cultural Celebrations in protest at the political summit.
Band member Jonathan Sri said the cultural events organised by the Queensland Government were an attempt to distract people from thinking critically about G20.
“We looked at how they were being promoted in the media and the kind of messaging the government was using,” he said.
“(The decision) was really prompted by a story we saw that had the angle ‘Forget politics, let’s party.'”
The band’s announcement follows Brisbane band Six Ft Hick’s decision to publicly pull out of the event.
Queensland Arts Minister Ian Walker said in a statement that the G20 would bring $100 million to Brisbane’s economy.
“The G20 Cultural Celebrations are to celebrate the state and its people, as well as give Queenslanders the opportunity to do some celebrating of their own. Its purpose is to show the world and remind ourselves that Queensland is in a class of its own,” said Mr Walker.
The Mouldy Lovers were booked to perform at The Flying Cock in Fortitude Valley tonight but publicly announced the cancellation on Wednesday.
Mr Sri, who is also the Greens candidate for South Brisbane at the upcoming state election, encouraged other musicians to do the same, but it was a difficult decision to make.
“It’s a bit harsh for people to criticise musicians for taking these gigs when musicians don’t have economic power,” he said.
The Mouldy Lovers will instead perform at an alternative People’s March on November 15 organised by community action group BrisCAN-G20.
Robin Taubenseld, a BrisCAN-G20 co-ordinator, said the group hasn’t actively lobbied for musicians to pull out of cultural celebrations.
“We realise it’s a complex issue, as many artists live a hand to mouth existence,” said Ms Taubenseld.
Many staff members and volunteers at local independent community radio station 4ZZZ have voiced criticisms of the government-funded cultural events.
“4ZZZ has a reputation for supporting the community and we can honestly say that the direction of the economic policies of the Newman government, the Abbott government and economic rationalism in general are not supporting the community,” said a statement on 4ZZZ’s Facebook page.
“Newman has severely cut funding to the arts in this state. So we can understand why struggling artists might take the sponsorship gig, but it is important for 4ZZZ to place its principles first.”
Ms Taubenseld said the cultural celebrations weren’t a true reflection of State Government policy.
“It’s fairly contradictory of the State to be supporting community events while actually perpetuating a budget that’s cutting funding to arts and cutting funding to social services,” she said.
Fern Thompsett, an organiser for BrisCAN-G20’s People’s Summit and 4ZZZ presenter, said BrisCAN-G20 wants to raise awareness about a lack of representation from the local community and international NGOs at the summit.
“A big part of the People’s March is voicing protest that we as citizens, on a grass roots level, are not being included in discussions that will affect us in very real ways,” said Ms Thompsett.
Mr Sri said he is primarily concerned about the congregation of representatives from exclusively wealthy countries.
“Broadly speaking, we think the G20 has a lot to do with preserving global economic injustices where the rich get richer and the poor get screwed,” he said.
BrisCAN-G20 spokesperson Kim Stewart said The Mouldy Lover’s decision was heartening.
“I think it’s great that musicians are sticking to their principles. Quite often they talk about political things in their songs and if they’re not going to follow that through, where’s the integrity?” she said.
The loss of G20 sponsorship is a setback to The Mouldy Lovers as they fundraise for their next album.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.