4EMP’s first Hip Hop festival ran in the midst of a decade long graffiti and street art ban – two years later the council commissions young artists’ work.
Organiser of the Bankstown festival that took place on Harmony day, Vyvienne Abla, believes the event has brought direct change to the community.
“We had a lot of newcomers that had either never experienced other elements before, or people who weren’t into Hip Hop that came down to get educated about it,” she said.
The earliest Four Elements ran in 2015, Ms Abla said it was the first time in decades ‘that graffiti writers had an opportunity to paint in the area.’
“There is no other festival like this in Australia and specifically Western Sydney,” she said, “it is a multi-element festival.”
The four elements spoken about are breakdance, rapping, DJing and graffiti.
Generally when you are at a Hip Hop event it’s mainly just rap or graffiti or just dance. There’s not many opportunities when it’s all in the same place at the same time.
This year’s program had live rap and break-dance performances, an expert talk panel, and live graffiti demonstrations.
Attendees also had the opportunity to network with artists that hung around the area the festival grounds in-between workshops and performances.
“They weren’t locked away behind doors. They were out in the crowd if anyone wanted to ask a question, talk to them, get a photo- easy access,” Ms Abla said.
The festival attracted 100 artists as said by the 4EMP website, as well as 45 cultures and an intergenerational crowd under one roof on Harmony Day.
Attendees filled the theatre despite torrential rain.
“The largest dream, vision, dream for this project is to become a one to two week festival and conference,” Ms Abla said.
The festival is expected to run again next year in March.