Logan looks skyward for a brighter future

Crowds in their thousands have attended a musical production that hopes to dispel long running misconceptions about the south-east Queensland city of Logan.


‘Under This Sky’ Queensland Music Festival in Logan. (Yan Chen)

The Queensland Music Festival show called Under This Sky showcases all the good things that come out the city of 300,000.

It is the biggest ever production to ever hit the Logan and the brain-child of renowned trumpeter and festival artistic director James Morrison.

“We had no idea what we were getting into. The talent pool here is an ocean,” he said.

“There's so much music, there's so much culture, there's so much going on.”

“If you want something you can find it in Logan: if you want an Indonesian gamelan, you can find it, Caribbean steel drummers, we got them, Russian dancers, no problem.”

Most of the cast of about 700 are locals and not professional performers.

“I’m a little bit nervous. It’s the first time in front of thousands of people,” said singer and dancer Laurianne Izere from the Traction Youth Ensemble.

Not overwhelmed by the frantic preparations and last minute adjustments before heading out on stage, they are taking the show very seriously.

“There's a lot of people out there. They're excited for more, and I want to give them more, yeah,” says Traction rapper Peter Irankunda.

‘Under This Sky’ Queensland Music Festival in Logan. (Yan Chen)

Eighteen months of hard work has gone into Under This Sky.

It was created in response to national and international media coverage of a street fight two years ago.

A dispute between two neighbouring households was portrayed as a race riot.

“Unfortunately when media cover a story, there is sensationalism,” said Logan mayor Pam Parker.

“It was a dispute between two families, it became very sensational, it does damage the city's reputation and it was unwarranted.”

“We're about showing the world Logan is bigger than one incident and I was gobsmacked when James Morrison approached me to say he wanted to put on a show in Logan.”

“I had no idea it would be the magnitude it is.”

Under This Sky tells the story of a day in the life of Logan drawing on the experiences of more than 200 ethnic communities.

“The real legacies that we’ve seen in the past that come from programs like this is that new connections are made in the community that weren’t there before that carry on and lead to more activity,” Mr Morrison said.

“That’s not just musically, but culturally, and it creates connections that can change how people feel about the place they live and that’s really important.”

Hundreds of performers and crew, an 86-piece orchestra, 10 community choirs portray both the good and sometimes not so good.

Unlike the usual portrayal of the Logan city, Under This Sky has a happy ending.

“It went really well, everyone was cheering everyone on, so I loved it,” said Laurianne Izere after coming of stage.

“The biggest day of my life. A dream come true,” added rapper Peter Irankunda.

3 min read
Published 2 August 2015 at 1:47pm
By Stefan Armbruster