‘Pay It Forward’ with Sapphire Community Pantry and Festival of Open Minds

350 people packed the Bega Civic Centre in 2018 for the Festival of Open Minds. Photo: Chris Sheedy.

350 people packed the Bega Civic Centre in 2018 for the Festival of Open Minds. Photo: Chris Sheedy.

Regional communities are always making their own fun and shaping their own destiny. Not much happens without people coming together to make it so, that spirit is very much at play with the Festival of Open Minds.

Tired of being on the end of a live stream or paying big bucks to travel to the city, and keen to add some country charm and smarts to the mix, 350 people turned out in 2018 for the very first Open Minds. In 2019, there is a real ambition to spread and share the event’s impact.

Inspired by TEDx style events held around the globe, the Festival of Open Minds looks to create and deepen debate and discussion across a broad range of contemporary issues. Drawing high profile, expert speakers from the national stage and mixing them with local speakers who bring their own spark and experience – Open Minds is a unique experience.

Running with an idea that comes from the Open Minds audience this year About Regional is proud to work with the Sapphire Community Pantry in offering ‘Pay It Forward’ ticket sales in order to make the event truly open to anyone who wants to attend and take part.

According to Urban Dictionary, ‘Pay It Forward’ comes from the Catherine Ryan Hyde book of the same name that later became a movie. “In the book, the phrase is used as the opposite of payback – when someone does a good dead for you, instead of paying them back, pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else.”

While we have done our best to keep ticket prices as low as possible, some in our community will still struggle to purchase their own ticket.

On About Regional Facebook, Amanda Galvin Myers makes the point, “The circumstances around needing to be receiving NewStart are bad enough, but then we can’t afford to attend festivals, movies, concerts, recitals, performances, fairs, anything with an entrance fee.”

It’s a comment that drew a response with a number of people showing support and looking for a solution.

With that in mind, we invite those who can to consider buying a ticket for themselves and buying a ticket for a stranger who couldn’t afford to come otherwise.

To take part and help increase the inclusive nature of the Festival of Open Minds head to our ticketing page and ‘Pay It Forward – buy a ticket for a stranger’.

For those who want to soak up the festival on September 14 but can’t afford it and need to tap into the generosity of others simply head to the Sapphire Community Pantry and drop your contact details in the box provided. We’ll make contact with you from there, and the arrangements we make will stay private.

The Pantry runs Tuesdays from Noon till 2 pm and Thursdays between 11 am and 2 pm and 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Peden Street, Bega. The Pantry is already a hub of community spirit, goodwill and assistance and the perfect partner for the Festival of Open Minds.

Catherine McGregor shares her story of gender identiy and change at the Festival of Open Minds in 2018; Photo: Chris Sheedy.

Catherine McGregor shares her story of gender identiy and change at the Festival of Open Minds in 2018; Photo: Chris Sheedy.

The theme for Open Minds in 2019 is ‘People With Oomph’ inspired by Bega Valley song man Damon Davis and his song of the same name.

“People with oomph – they’re not lyin down. People with oomph – spread the good life. People with oomph – keep their own style. People with oomph – walk mile after mile,” Damon sings.

The 2019 Festival of Open Minds line up so far includes:

  • Tim Costello, Chief Advocate, World Vision;
  • Pastor Christie Buckingham, spiritual counselor to executed Bali 9 drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran;
  • Nas Campanella, blind Triple J newsreader;
  • Aly Khalifa, founder of Oceanworks, focused on harvesting plastic waste from our oceans;
  • Emma Booth, para-equestrian competitor, represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics;
  • Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, comedian, joke writer, grew up in Tathra.

More announcements will be made in the coming weeks, stay in touch via the festival website.

Thank you to our Festival partners – Julie Rutherford Real Estate at BermaguiBega Valley Commemorative Civic CentreBega Valley Library ServiceBega Valley Regional GalleryTathra Beachhouse ApartmentsBega Valley Innovation HubNorth of Eden Gin, and Tilba Real Dairy.

Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.