St. O’Donnell are bringing you Just Cause, an event powered by music and commitment to the conversation surrounding treatment of refugees coming into Australia. With acts including Polographia, Pluural and Passed Curfew, 100% of ticket sales are going towards supporting Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).
Louis Gasparinatos, older brother of St O’Donnell team member Gabe, inspired the event after travelling over to Greece to assist those seeking asylum from conflict-affected areas across Europe. It’s a desperately important issue that Australia needs to be paying attention to and sharing around our community.
We sat down with the brothers to talk about the upcoming event and what the team hopes will come from such a gathering of likeminded people.
One Bondi collective are doing their part for Sydney music with charity in mind. We asked the St. O’Donnell family why you should be too.
HAPPY: So Louis, you’re coming to the end of your time in Greece, what prompted the trip over?
LOUIS: Gabe, myself and our dad were in Athens in late 2015 as the first waves of refugees began to arrive in Europe. Having already been engaged in the global crisis at home for some time, we witnessed families walking through train stations; mothers carrying children, grandparents, and fathers with giant sacks over their shoulders full of their entire life’s possessions. This first hand insight into the determination and desperation of people was enough to put the gears in motion for my father to organise his trip to volunteer for a few months last April.
Subsequently, my brother and I followed him, spending some time on Lesvos, and then I went to Athens in a camp on the mainland. The organisation we have been working with was created to ensure safe beach landings and to prevent further loss of life at sea. They remain the only organisation to continue operating along the shores and to this day are providing around the clock shifts to ensure the safe arrival of boats.
As conditions worsened over the winter and many volunteers returned home for Christmas and the holidays, I felt compelled to do what I could to return, as I’m sure many other people would. I was just lucky to be able to take the time off work and come over.
HAPPY: Gabe how did the idea for this event come together?
GABE: Witnessing something like my brother’s return trip to Lesvos and all of the grassroots action in my extended friend circle – through social media mostly – I figured there’s surely a means of which we could bring that social conscience to the forefront of Sydney music and culture. In such a dire political climate it’s important to not forget the role we have as creatives and artists to use our outlet as a means of promoting the change we’d like to see. The event, and the follow up events we plan to throw (under the banner Just Cause), are us playing a small part in facilitating change and making something better for someone else in need.
HAPPY: To both of you, what’s the connection and relevance of a company like St O’Donnell to this event?
GABE: If you look at the people running St. O’Donnell you’d notice the multiculturalism – and out of the musicians we book and the artists we exhibit I’d confidently say a majority of us are from parents or grandparents born outside of the country. With such diversity in our backgrounds it’s difficult not to go “hey, there’s people out there just like us who we can help pretty easily.” The importance of bridging that gap between social action and culture is so blatantly necessary, and if we can use a platform like ours to do that, maybe we can make some type of difference in the world.
LOUIS: As much as actually being on the ground here offering a helping hand, I feel it’s just as important to raise awareness and draw attention to the situation abroad. People are suffering in unimaginable conditions as the result of a horrendous war and we should be doing more to assist those in desperate need, as we could only hope for if we were the ones displaced. On that note, we all have a role to play and by drawing attention to the issue at hand and showing solidarity with the refugees, companies have such potential to build support and utilise that influence to make an impact.
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HAPPY: Let’s talk about the music, how did all these great acts come together for the event?
GABE: The perks of being surrounded by good-hearted musos go a long way. We’ve booked our in-house boys Pluural and Passed Curfew who’ll both throw down live sets, and we’re so stoked to have a DJ set from Polographia headlining – we’ve been huge fans of their music forever and have now been given one more reason to love them and what they do. The St. O’Donnell DJ set has something very special in store for everyone, too.
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HAPPY: How did the collaboration with RACS go? We saw the RACS/One Day event in 2016 and it just showed the power behind connecting music with global issues for a united outcome.
GABE: To partner with RACS for the event has been an honour. Undeniably one of the most longstanding, dependable organisations providing an incredible bunch of legal services, by donating 100% of proceeds from the event to help them continue their efforts we’re confident it’ll all go directly to where it’s needed.