Australian Creatives Rally for Bushfire Relief23 March 2020
As donations towards the recovery effort for Australia’s unprecedented bushfire season nears $500 million dollars, the arts community has rallied around these fundraising efforts, with a wide range events, auctions and pledges organised around the country in the past months.
In the wake of the bushfires, broad sections of the arts community including authors, musicians, comedians and performing and visual artists have put their skills towards the fundraising effort.
Prominent among these efforts has been the ‘Authors for Fireys’ fundraiser with over 900 items from 500 public figures, auctioned with the proceeds going to bushfire charities around Australia. The fundraiser quickly attracted the contributions from high-profile authors, publishers, illustrators and media personalities. Figures such as Jackie French, Kevin Rudd, Clementine Ford and Trent Dalton offered a range of items such as signed memorabilia, book club appearances, private meetings and future characters named in honour of the highest bidder.
The brainchild of young adult authors Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, Gale said of the fundraiser, “that this began with the arts community, who are often dismissed as less important than other industries, is also a strengthening aspect.”
The music community has responded to the bushfire crisis similarly with prominent national and international musicians organising fundraising concerts. Among others, acts such as Stella Donnelly, Gang of Youths, Mac Demarco and Tash Sultana have all pledged to hold benefit performances through the year. While The Wiggles have already performed the first of two reunion concerts in aid of the Australian Red Cross and WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
Large aid concerts have also been announced. Fire Fight Australia, featuring international musical acts such as Queen, Jessica Mauboy and Olivia Newton-John, sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on sale. Geoff Jones, the chief executive coordinating the concert described it as “designed to raise as much money as possible for the bushfire relief and hopefully raise people’s spirits in the process.”
It was further announced that Sound Relief, a benefit concert first held in 2009 to raise money for the recovery effort after the Black Saturday bushfires, will be held again in March 2020.
The Melbourne music community has echoed these efforts, hosting a series of live benefit gigs at venues across the city that showcase local musical talent.
Future fundraising events are scheduled throughout 2020.