A Chat With A Rock’n’Roll Writers Festival Co-Creator Leanne de Souza

By March 15, 2016

A Rock & Roll Writers Festival celebrates the creative relationship between writing and music at The Brightside on April 2-3. Fans of music and writing get up close and personal with the creators of stories and songs.

We sat down with co-creator and local legend Leanne de Souza to find out how it all came about.

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Why did you and Joe decide to start a Rock n Roll Writers festival?

I took a personal 3 month sabbatical last year and immersed myself in things I loved – music and books were central to that. The nucleus of the idea was to create an event for fans of songwriting, music writing and fiction influenced by music. Joe Woolley and I brainstormed our mutual passion for the seed idea at the pub and we were compelled to make it happen.

The lineup is super solid. There’s a heap of influential reviewers, musicians and novelists on there. How did you choose who to have? Did they all have to write you an essay or a poem or something?
Thanks! We are really clear on the cut and balance of critics, memoir/biography, fiction writers, songwriters and commentators. We discuss the work we love, discover and debate new work. We read and listen to music daily. There was no submission process, we actively courted the writers that represent the values, points of view and stories that are resonate with us personally.

Do you have any standouts (sneaky faves) you’re super excited about hearing from? Cmon, you can tell us…
I am most excited about hearing the discourse – where the conversations will go around the topics and themes we have curated. The full festival program is revealed at Avid Reader on 24 February. Some of my personal favourites are to be announced then, so I’ll come back you . . . .

It’s at the Brightside which is one of the best music venues in town. What kind of people should come along? Is it just for Music fans? Should we bring our grandma?
We are thrilled to host the inaugural event in a live music venue. I love the tension between “high” and “low” art concepts coming together. The event is for the fanboy/girl in all of us. It is not an industry event but will appeal to lovers of music, books, controversy and a good old chinwag about the books and music we love over a beverage or three. I don’t know your grandma, but mine would probably get a crush on Clinton Walker in a heartbeat.

This is the first event of its kind in Australia and it’s in Brisbane. Stoked. Thanks for making fun things for us to do in our hometown. What’s the plan for future years?
It is the obvious place for the event to evolve from the belly of the Brisbane music and arts scene. We have such a fascinating local history of music, politics and attitude. My whole career has been “just make shit happen” and that won’t change. We’ll think about the future when we wake up from the hangover on April 4thbut yes, we have a clear vision and ambition for the event – should we survive unscathed !

Last question. What the fuck are you thinking partnering up with Joe Woolley? You have heard about Joe Woolley right?
I met Joe in 1992 at the Story Bridge Hotel Bombshelter Bar – the next thing I know we are partners in a Rock and Roll Writers Festival ! WTF happened?

A Rock’n’Roll Writer’s Festival runs across 2-3 April at The Brightside. To nab some tickets and get more info visit rockandrollwritersfestival.com

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