The Quad is back: 2021 program of community events announced

Hip hop artist Blake 'Teddy' Rhodes will kick start the Lismore Quad's 2021 cultural program with a Youth Festival. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

Hip hop artist Blake 'Teddy' Rhodes will kick start the Lismore Quad's 2021 cultural program with a Youth Festival. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

IT's time for the region's youth to come out of its internal "Covid hang" and start performing again says Blake 'Teddy' Rhodes.

"They need to perform again for their confidence. If you don't perform for a while it gets daunting," he says.

As one of the region's most successful hip hop artists, Blake did his first show in November and "I was a complete wreck before I went on stage. I thought I was going to forget everything".

So he couldn't be happier to be kick starting the Lismore Quad's 2021 cultural program with a Youth Festival.

"It's all part of the flow to normality. The young have been on online classes and we've noticed they're starting to get sick of them," he says.

The Lismore Youth Festival on April 15 and 16 will "bring back some sort of platform and space to have the things they've been learning and get them out and productive, instead of just hanging."

Instead, they can hang in the Quad again.

The one-of-a-kind cultural precinct in the heart of Lismore announced the first events in their inclusive program for the year this week.

The Youth Festival will be followed by a powerful storytelling project Flood Stories that takes you on walking audio tours around Lismore ( April 29) followed by an open-air cinema (May 21-23) and the family favourite Playground Festival (July 3).

The popular Backyard Music Sessions showcasing local talent will return monthly from May.

The family-favourite Playground Festival will return to the Quad in 2021. Credit Rebecca Rushbrook.

The family-favourite Playground Festival will return to the Quad in 2021. Credit Rebecca Rushbrook.

Lismore Quad's 2021 program is curated by Placemaking Officer Marisa Snow.

The Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore Library and the Northern Rivers Conservatorium is re-activating the public meeting place with funding from Create NSW to be able to make it a performance venue, children's play space and creative hub and a space for community expression.

"We're thrilled our community will be able to connect again safely."

"Our feature programs are coming back and I'm thrilled to be launching the Quad's first outdoor cinema in May."

Concerts in the Quad with Jimmy Willing. Credit: Natsky

Concerts in the Quad with Jimmy Willing. Credit: Natsky

Blake is bringing his work with Dream Bigger and NORPA to this third festival. Last year's was cancelled due to Covid.

The Quad will be transformed into an open-air hub with a half-pipe, DJs and ping pong tables. The Gallery will host a comedy workshop, open mic sessions, and youth exhibitions with Defiant and The Rainbow Collective (LGBTIQ Youth Group).

During the hiatus, Blake has been working on solo project for a Create NSW Generation Fellowship and spent a six month's residency at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

It's allowed him to build a catalogue of his music and plan the festival with his company, Dream Bigger, to come back "better than ever".

Known as Blake by some, Teddy, by others - and especially for his performances in his band Teddy Lewis King - he was raised with a sense of purpose regarding his community.

CREATING THE BEAT: Blake Rhodes. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

CREATING THE BEAT: Blake Rhodes. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

Blake grew up in Lismore and went to all three high schools. He comes from a prominent indigenous family. His uncle Glen Rhodes is an advocate for Bundjalung education and his grandmother, Aunty Hazel, was known for her community involvement and, recently had her wake at the Regional Gallery.

"When I grew up there was nothing happening for the youth around.

"I want kids to be able to have something I didn't have growing up in the town.

"The Quad did not exist. It was a carpark. To be able to have a space like that to be active and hang out or whatever is super sick - we need to utilise it."

"The Quad did not exist. It was a carpark. To be able to have a space like that to be active and hang out or whatever is super sick - we need to utilise it."

He came up with the idea to promote "the good stuff that was happening" because there was a "a lot of negativity going around about young people, and nobody was talking about the positive young people in this town."

"We wanted to highlight some aspects and give them a platform to be seen and known. Live their best lives."

"We just want younger artists to know there are a lot of people around for advice, who they can learn from.

"The 2019 Festival was brilliant and we had an incredible response and the feedback has helped us curate and build what we are doing now. It was all positive, dancing and joy, and a lot of rain.

"The young people were very well behaved. They really made me happy to see them run around and enjoying themselves."

This year the festival gigs will include DJs, Punk, Hip Hop, Electronic, Bedroom, Bop, Blow and Fly acts that will be spread across multiple venues in the town, including City Hall and Goonellabah.

Young performers and artists who want to take part can contact Blake @dreambiggerNR.

Also included in The Quad's 2021 program is:

Flood Stories

 April 28 -  May 6

Part of the Plein Air residency series, Flood Stories is a compelling invitation for people to follow in the footsteps of a community impacted by the 2017 Flood. Created by Jeanti St Clair, an audio documentary maker, sound artist and Lismore Shire resident.

Quad Outdoor Cinema

Friday April 21 - 23

The film program is designed, over three nights to offer a selection of music and performances. The program will be presented with headsets for a truly immersive experience. Bring the picnic blankets and hampers.

Playground Festival

Saturday July 3

Playground Festival is a dynamic, immersive kids festival for children 8-12 years and their families. Co-presented by Lismore Regional Gallery and The Quad, Playground Festival transforms the precinct into a kid's wonderland.

Backyard Music Series

Every month from May

Free live music program in The Quad. Great local acts perform tunes under the stars. Bring a picnic blanket and the kids.

  • All events will have a Covid Safety Plan in place. For more information and to sign up to Lismore Quad's newsletter visit www.lismorequad.org.au