Smith Street Dreaming brings unity, solidarity, and community to Leaps and Bounds

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Smith Street Dreaming brings unity, solidarity, and community to Leaps and Bounds


As part of the Leaps And Bounds Music Festival, Smith Street Dreaming occurs to shed light on the incredible history of Fitzroy and Collingwood’s Koorie people.

“It’s a celebration that recognises my people’s long history in the area,” says organiser Jason Tamiru. “It celebrates the breaking down of barriers that brings people together.”

Through creative and artistic mediums, Smith Street Dreaming breaks down barriers. The annual event – taking place for its fifth celebration – will play host to some of Australia’s best indigenous talent featuring live sets from Frank Yamma, Emma Donovan, Yung Warriors, hip hop dance group Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, Jindi Worabak traditional dancers, and MC Shelley Ware.

“The public, the local shop traders, there’s a different kind of relationship going on,” says Tamiru. “There’s a lot of history and it’s from the community that Smith Street Dreaming was born.”

Tamiru has been involved since the festival’s inception and he speaks emphatically on how he’s seen the event grow and evolve over time to become the biggest street celebration of long-standing Indigenous history on the calendar, bringing together many mobs on the corner of Stanley and Smith Street in Collingwood.

“It’s just grown – last year the festival blew up in a big way. It was accepted by the community. The festival has now become a highlight in a lot of people’s calendar, everyone looks forward to it. All in all, it’s a really good day.”

The excitement surrounding the event isn’t exclusive to the Indigenous community of the area, it’s welcomed by the wider community as a whole. Tamiru feels that with these traditional performances and the artists who perform the works of their roots, they’re helping to bring a broader understanding to the community at large. “They’re very good – a lot of artists aren’t known by everyone in the world,” he says, “And when you come across some artists who happen to be Indigenous [to Australia] and good at what they do, it’s a good surprise.”

There are no real criteria that allow people to have an opportunity at Smith Street, all that’s asked is that you’ve got to create some type of artistic vision, with thought given to the audience that will be in attendance. “We’re trying to get the performers to incorporate all these thoughts,” says Tamiru.

Smith Street Dreaming is the closing event to Leaps And Bounds this year and with so many talented and inspiring names on the bill, it’s bound to be a fun-filled event. But these artists aren’t just taking their heritage, background and roots to their performances, they also combine Western influence, taking such a powerful event and furthering its appeal to a wider group of people.

The official end-of-festival party Hip Hop Hooray has been cultivated for mass appeal. “I like hip hop,” says Tamir, “And I’m in my 40s. It’s good for me sure, but it appeals to the younger demographic.

“Kids aren’t historically and socially motivated at the best of times but some of these artists, they have some really good things to say. It just resonates, it resonates with the audience.”

With Smith Street Dreaming set to be a big and important event, only looking to become bigger and more involved, does Tamiru have any ideas for next year? The question has him stumped. “I’m actually shitting myself for Saturday if I’m honest,” Tamiru laughs.

“I want to enjoy the weekend, to be honest – I just hope we can continue on.”