• (L-R) Troy Cassar-Daley, Zaachariaha Fielding of Electric Fields, Members of East Journey (NITV)Source: NITV
Featuring live performances, a concert special will wrap up the 2020 NAIDOC week with celebration and reflection.
Emily Nicol

10 Nov 2020 - 4:58 PM  UPDATED 10 Nov 2020 - 6:49 PM

In place of this year's NAIDOC Awards night, the Brisbane Powerhouse will be the scene for the final celebrations of NAIDOC Week 2020.

On Saturday, 14 November, Stand Up and Be Counted: A NAIDOC Concert Special will celebrate Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander excellence in lieu of the traditional awards gala, and offer the community a chance to reflect on what has been a historical year.

The name is a reference to the iconic song Blackfella Whitefella by Warumpi Band, a classic song that not only means a lot to mob, but has a strong message of acceptance, social justice and reconciliation. 

Hosted by actor Aaron Fa’aoso and comedian Steph Tisdell, the night promises fun, laughter and live performances from some of the best First Nations artists such as Electric Fields and Emily Wurramurra. Comedians Sean Choolburra and Steven Oliver will also join the line-up to put on a show. Legendary country star Troy Cassar-Daley will also headline, along with his daughter Jem, a young talent on the rise. Representing North East Arnhem Land, rock, reggae band East Journey will perform and Torres Strait Island mob, dance group KUTAW ZOERU will also take the stage.

Speaking to NITV, Tisdell says that she is excited to be taking the stage and helping create an atmosphere of positivity and celebration.

"I love NAIDOC, I love events where we actually get to celebrate blackfellas," Tisdell said.

"If it's an Indigenous line-up or something like that, the write up is always about representation. It's just nice with NAIDOC that it's just about celebrating. It's always a different feel to it."

Co-hosts, Tisdell and Fa'aoso have met only briefly and not had the chance to work together before.

"We've spoken on Zoom a couple of times. I don't know him super well, but I do love and respect him, so I think we'll probably bounce off each other well," she says.

Known for her sharp and witty stand-up Tisdell says that her approach to being onstage for a NAIDOC event like this is slightly different from her mainstream gigs. When she was offered the job the comedian told producers not to expect her usual banter and jokes. 

"With something like this, I just want to spread love," she explained. "Which means I might not be as 'funny', because I just want to be giving the crowd a virtual hug.

"That's what I reckon hosting is all about, like if you're hosting, it's all about bigging the audience up for this amazing talent that they want to see, and it's about making everyone come together and really being present in this moment, and sort of building a little community that exists just for that time."

NITV Acting Head of Creative Productions, Adam Manovic said the importance of delivering a NAIDOC event which is focused on celebration and performing arts is that song and dance has always been the way that we convey culture.

"Obviously in 2020 things are a bit different, but the importance of culture and music is that it is palatable, and anyone can be engaged," he said.

"We are excellent at performing and exhibiting culture, so having a concert where we can be proud and celebrate is very important. It's an avenue to celebrate and entertain but also for a non-Indigenous audience to be involved as well."

The NAIDOC Stand Up and Be Counted concert will be simulcast on NITV and SBS, NITV Facebook live, Twitter and YouTube, LIVE from the Brisbane Powerhouse. Starts at 8.30pm.

National NAIDOC Week (8 – 15 Nov 2020) celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Join SBS and NITV for a full slate of NAIDOC Week content. For more information about NAIDOC Week or this year’s theme, head to the official NAIDOC Week website. #NAIDOC2020 #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe