The call is out to all Victorians to get a mad hat on their head and support people with mental illness.
Leading entertainers, some with and without mental illness are banding together to put on a music festival at Federation Square.
Timed to kick off Mental Health Week, the festival will be a fun and entertaining way to ensure that we all remember that simply participating in the arts is great for our mental health and wellbeing.
Most of us have heard that music is good for the mind, body and soul. Melbourne’s rockers the Bipolar Bears know only too well how important a happy and healthy mind is – something that everyone needs.
The Bipolar Bears will join with hilarious MC Rod Quantock, singer Heidi Everett, the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir and artists from Wild@heART’s Music Network, amongst others for the festival.
The Bears, stalwarts of the Melbourne music scene for over 15 years, sing about life with a mental illness, with lyrics like “I’m not schizophrenic, I’m just paranoid, so why don’t you all, go take a polaroid”.
“The event is an initiative of musicians involved in the Music Network for Mental Health to send a positive message about what it takes to have a happy and healthy mind,” says Phil Heuzenroeder, Director of Wild@heART.
“Being connected with others, feeling like you have a part to play and a chance to be creative are all important,” Mr Heuzenroeder says.
“VicHealth is proud to support the Mad Hatters Music Festival. Strong evidence shows that when people participate in the arts, mental health and wellbeing is improved. Mental distress is also decreased,” says Todd Harper, CEO of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
“Mental illness, like depression and anxiety, costs Australia at least $20 billion a year and much of this is preventable,” Mr Harper says.
“About one in five Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives, so it is essential that we all work more on mutual respect and understanding in our communities, with our friends, families and neighbours.”
The program features Heidi Everett, a talented songwriter and performer who featured on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope documentary on mental illness last year. Author, Ingi Barr, will read from her recently published children’s book on depression “Walking the Black Dog”.
Mad Hatters Music Festival is presented by The Music Network for Mental Health, an initiative of not-for-profit organization Wild@heART Community Arts. The Network was formed in mid-2004 to bring together musicians living with mental health issues for social, songwriting and performance opportunities.
Mad Hatters Music Festival is sponsored by VicHealth, City Wide and Australia Council for the Arts. And Don’t forget your hat!
EVENT DETAILS: MAD HATTERS MUSIC FESTIVAL
What: MC Rod Quantock, Bipolar Bears, Heidi Everett, Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir and more
When: 1.30pm to 5pm, Saturday 3rd October
Where: Federation Square