Hard­ships pale in face of mu­si­cal union

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - TIFFANY DUNK NA­TIONAL TV EDITOR

Crime, cul­tural clashes and plenty of neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity have plagued the Queens­land city of Lo­gan, which lies just 30 min­utes out­side of Bris­bane.

So when the Queens­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val chose Lo­gan to put on a show writ­ten and per­formed by lo­cal tal­ent — and film it — artis­tic di­rec­tor James Mor­ri­son was sure they were about to en­ter Strug­gle Street ter­ri­tory.

“We ex­pected the story would be at least in part about the hard­ships, the strug­gles, how dif­fi­cult it is to live in a com­mu­nity with so many cul­tural groups in it,” he says.

“We kept try­ing to tell that story but it just wasn’t there. Yes, they’ve had strife, but the peo­ple of Lo­gan wanted to say, ‘Yes, we’ve had prob­lems and have come from all over the place, but this is our home and we love it’.”

There are over 200 lan­guages spo­ken in the city, which is home to just over 287,000 peo­ple. And there are more cul­tural groups lo­cated within Lo­gan than New York.

So it’s un­sur­pris­ing that cul­tural divi­sion has long been a prob­lem in the com­mu­nity. But Mor­ri­son found that it was mu­sic that would prove their com­mon fac­tor and help build new bonds.

“There’s plenty of mu­sic in Lo­gan, there al­ways has been, but they’re all sep­a­rate,” he ex­plains.

“There’s the Ton­gan mu­sic fes­ti­val, the Rwan­dan mu­sic fes­ti­val and so on. But what The Lo­gan Pro­ject did was forge new col­lab­o­ra­tions and con­nec­tions. It’s a great legacy.”

The doc­u­men­tary, which shows the process of putting the show to­gether from au­di­tions un­til fi­nal ap­plause was a labour of love for Mor­ri­son. It book­ends his four-year ten­ure with the Queens­land Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and he was de­ter­mined to “go out with a bang”.

They hit plenty of hur­dles along the way — not least try­ing to find a stage that could ac­com­mo­date 800 per­form­ers — but Mor­ri­son says he’s thrilled with the fi­nal re­sult. “It’s some­thing to be in­spired by.”

THE LO­GAN PRO­JECT, SBS, TUES­DAY, 8.30PM

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