• YesFest brings together top musical talent for marriage equality (YesFest)
"This is one we'll be telling our grandkids about."
Alyssa Braithwaite

13 Oct 2017 - 9:51 AM  UPDATED 13 Oct 2017 - 2:45 PM

As the closing date for returning your marriage equality postal survey forms approaches (November 7), some of the brightest stars of the Australian music industry and banding together to rock the yes vote.

YesFest, a music festival in support of same-sex marriage, is being held on Sunday October 29 at Sydney Olympic Park's Spotless Stadium, featuring a host of musical acts including Client Liaison, Flight Facilities, Elizabeth Rose, Jimmy Barnes, Kirin J Callinan, Killing Heidi, Megan Washington, The Preatures, Tkay Maidza, and Touch Sensitive.  

"YesFest is a massive festival that brings together the country’s most beloved artists to share their support for marriage equality," reads the festival Facebook page.

"It’s set to be the single largest benefit event in a decade. The stage is set, the talent is ready. This is one we’ll be telling our grandkids about.

"The marriage equality postal vote is stacked against young people like us. They think we can’t -and we won’t- make a difference. Let’s prove them wrong. And have a damn good time doing it."

Organisers initially hoped to get Elton John to headline while he was touring the country, but it wasn't logistically possible, so the music legend recorded a special message for the festival.

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YesFest is the brainchild of M&C Saatchi copywriters and creatives Jonno Seidler, Curt McDonald & Chris Brailey, Taylor Thompson and Prue Purnell, who were inspired by events like Wave Aid and Sound Relief and wanted to do something positive to help the marriage equality campaign.

"I just started thinking about the spend that the no campaign has and how everyone's fighting in the same territory - TV and radio and print - and I was like, 'what if you could just make something that would completely skyrocket over all of that and become its own talking point?' That's where it started," Seidler tells SBS. 

With no experience putting together a music festival, Seidler and his colleagues thought raising the money would be the easy bit, and attracting artists would be more difficult. 

There are a lot of corporates out there with serious budgets, and this is a big talking point in the corporate community at the moment, so we thought, we'll just get the money and the artists will be the hard part," he says.

"It was the opposite to be honest. We got a lot of no's from corporate Australia, which was really frustrating for us. So we were like, 'ok we'll build it with the artists, and then the money will come'. And that's what happened."

Hosted by Osher Günsberg, with vocal supporters including Billy Russell, Christian Wilkins, Courtney Act, Danny Clayton, Jackie Loeb, Jordan Raskopoulos and more, a portion of profits will go to the Equality campaign. 

Janine Middleton, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality told Campaign Brief: "The next month is crucial in order to make marriage equality a reality. YesFest is an opportunity to connect with hundreds of thousands of Australians, encouraging them to have conversations about marriage equality with their friends, family and neighbours. We're thrilled to be working with some of the biggest talent in Australia to reach out to as many communities as possible and encourage them to post their YES ballots."

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Seidler says he does not expect any trouble from 'no vote' protesters but there will be full security detail making sure the event is a positive, safe and enjoyable day for festival-goers.

There are 30,000 tickets up for grabs, and the event will be broadcast live around Australia on YouTube, while MTV broadcasts from backstage on Facebook Live.

Seidler says revelers can look forward to "a great time, and a once in a lifetime experience". 

"A lot of people are out there saying 'what can I do? I feel really lost by this debate, I feel like I'm really upset about it'," he says.

"Buy a ticket. It's the cheapest festival you're going to go to all summer. But just come and get involved. I've been to Wave Aid and Sound Relief, being in a crowd like that, there's nothing like it. There is no experience on earth like that.

"It's not like going to a Big Day Out, because you're there for a reason. And everybody is there for the same reason as you. And that's really powerful."

Tickets are $68.77 and are available here.

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