Presented by Nostalgic Events & Bunjil Place, Rise Of South Sudan (R.O.S.S.) Music & Arts Festival will feature a curated edit of South Sudanese-Australian musicians, artists and creators leading the charge.
Returning for the first time since the pandemic took hold, the Rise Of South Sudan (R.O.S.S.) Music and Arts Festival is back for a long-awaited celebration of emerging and established South Sudanese-Australian musical and creative talent hailing from Victoria’s vibrant Diaspora.
Taking place this weekend on Saturday, April 16, Nostalgic Events and Bunjil Place will host the third edition of R.O.S.S. Music and Arts Festival featuring an eclectic assortment of incredible artists and honouring the resilience, strength and endurance of Victoria’s flourishing creative South-Sudanese community.
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Set in the community hub of Bunjil Place in Melbourne’s South-East (just 90 minutes from Geelong and 40 minutes from the CBD), this year’s festival will be a multi-artform experience that seamlessly weaves over thirteen artists and creators of various forms including Poets, Dancers, Rappers, Singers, and Visual artists, many of whom are making waves locally and fast becoming ones to watch within the national music landscape.
Here, the uplifting melodies of AG Johnson, Jag, Jacki Tut, and Achai will enlighten and inspire, while lyrical powerhouses Nyareth and Flora Chol command the floor with their creative forms of musical activism.
On the hip hop tip, industry heavyweights Malesh P & Flexx will deliver their mindful musings alongside the artistic prowess of YTS Gucciboi and PREZ, the sonic splendour of Mike Wang, and the music-meets-performance-art of Tèbir and his band.
Also on show will be the kaleidoscopic artwork of Mr Unique and A.Costa, providing vibrant visual accompaniment to all performing artist’s repertoires.
From r’n’b and hip hop to neo-funk and rock’ n soul, for one night only, South Sudanese musicians of varying genres will take the stage, alongside poets, storytellers, dancers and performance artists in what will be the festivals most highly produced and considered yet, making it truly unmissable.
“Attendees can expect a dynamic and seamless show this year. We’ve upped our game as far as production goes to include high-quality sound, lighting and visuals, giving the show an atmospheric element never seen before at R.O.S.S. Providing the best tools to ensure our line-up of incredible artists can perform to the best of their abilities was paramount in creating this year’s festival,” says Nostalgic Events director Kush K. T. Kuiy.
Kush originally conceptualised R.O.S.S. back in 2017 alongside R.O.S.S. ‘s creative director J.D as a benefit concert to fund the building of a maternal and child health hospital in South Sudan. While the idea that sparked the concept has shifted to the end goal, the founders’ short-term mission is focused on artist amplification and exposure, providing a platform for South Sudanese-Australian creatives to share their stories through their chosen artistic medium.
“The idea for R.O.S.S. was born upon my father’s return from visiting family in Ethiopia and South Sudan. He was disturbed and upset by the state of maternal and child healthcare in our communities back home. I was an optimistic 20-year-old at the time, and while I didn’t know how to build a hospital, I knew I could put on an event to bring attention to the issue and raise money to go towards the cause. At this point, I proposed the idea to J.D. who immediately shared my vision.”
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From humble beginnings in a living room, the R.O.S.S. has evolved exponentially over the years, growing alongside South Sudanese diaspora located in the South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Despite its growth, keeping the event local has always been of the utmost importance. With both directors also residing in the South-East, it simply made sense to provide an offering that would cater to and involve the local community.
“As an independent producer, 99% of my practice is based in the South-East; providing platforms for local creatives to perform and bringing arts and culture to the precinct”, says Kush. “I want audience members and artists alike, to feel like we have our own culture here that we can be proud of.”
This year’s showcase was made possible by Nostalgic Events, Bunjil Place, Creative Victoria and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
R.O.S.S. Lineup 2022
Nyarath Gatkuoth (poet)
Flora Chol (poet)
A.costa (visual artist)
Mr. Unique (visual artist)
R.O.S.S. 2022 takes place at Bunjil Place Theatre, 2 Patrick Northeast Drive, Narre Warren on Saturday, April 16 2022. You can purchase tickets here.