There are calls for white musicians to boycott music festivals with line-ups that are not racially and culturally diverse.
The call comes as Sydney’s first Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) Festival kicks off on Friday with an overt anti-racism theme.
Tanya Ali, an Ethno Cultural Officer at the University of Sydney’s Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR), has experienced explicit instances of racism at music festivals.
"We need audience members to push and push for equal representation and we need white musicians to refuse to be on lineups that are white and male-dominated.”
"We need more curators of colour. We need lineups that are all white and all male to completely bomb," she said.
"If even one person of colour in the audience walks away feeling more welcome in the music industry I’m all for it,” Ms Ali said.
The event has been organised by national anti-racism organisation, All Together Now, to start conversations around racism, using music as a catalyst.
LMHR musician Imbi Girl said the festival was about spreading positivity.
"Racism is such a real thing in Australia – it’s really not spoken about as much as it should be.”
"You have a bunch of people in a room together, coming together through music – which is one of the most powerful languages in the universe – it’s something so special.”
Love Music Hate Racism was founded in 2002 in the United Kingdom as a response to racism and far-right extremism.
There have been hundreds of LMHR events globally but this is the first of its kind in Australia.
At this year’s Splendour in the Grass music festival, just under 17% of the line-up were people of colour.
"I think a lot of [racism] is a lot more, I don’t know if I’m using this word correctly, but like microcosmic? [...] It comes out in these little micro-aggressions,” Imbi said.
“For instance, whenever I go through airport security I’m always pulled aside for ‘testing', 'bomb testing’ and stuff like that."
Imbi only identified as a person of colour in recent years.
"Like being able to say out loud that I’m a person of colour […] in the beginning, it almost felt like imposter syndrome."
“[In school] we were just surrounded by whiteness and accepted that that was the norm and that was what we were. When, in actual fact, we’re very much not.”
All Together Now was founded in 2010 by Priscilla Brice as a response to a lack of access to non-academic anti-racism events, which “tend to attract a limited audience", Ms Brice said.
“The LMHR campaign has a renewed importance with the increase in Islamophobia, hostility towards immigrants in Australia, and the continued degrading treatment of Indigenous Australians,” she said.
“One in five Australians experienced racism over the past year, and we know from research that one way to reduce this statistic is by all of us challenging racism wherever it occurs.”
The Love Music Hate Racism event will include performances from Imbi the Girl, L-FRESH the LION, Nooky and Sophiegrophy from 8.00pm at The Factory Theatre
105 Victoria Road, Marrickville.