You may know Tim Loydell from his years playing with his band The Deckchairs, stalwarts of the Solbar both at its original Coolum location and in Maroochydore.
But with one member now living in Canada, Mr Loydell has been focusing his energies on new creative projects, working behind the scenes to promote slam poetry and spoken word performance in Australia and helping to spearhead a burgeoning Sunshine Coast scene.
He moved to Mooloolaba from Brisbane a year ago and is enjoying a more laid-back lifestyle, saying he doesn’t miss his days as a full-time musician, which he says were demanding.
“Maybe four years ago I took a break from music and started managing and promoting tours for artists like Akala from the UK. I don’t really perform much anymore, though I do have a studio at home. I’m enjoying curating now – I feel like it’s my creative outlet.”
Mr Loydell formed The Writers Republic to promote performance poetry and has joined forces with Peripheral Arts, a regional arts organisation delivering storytelling programs across Queensland, to form The Bunker Collective for this year’s Horizon Festival.
At last year’s Horizon, Mr Loydell ran the Words Collide program and Peripheral Arts ran Slam and Busk in the Bunker. This year they’ve amalgamated their programs to offer a combination of slam poetry and storytelling workshops and competitions to a number of locations around the Coast, and Mr Loydell is inviting anyone who wants to give it a go to come along and perhaps be inspired by performers already working in the field.
“I’m bringing some international and Australian touring artists through,” he says.
“Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet from the UK and has been working in the industry for many years. We also have storytellers who will really help writers develop their materials.
With slam poetry and spoken word events growing in popularity around Australia, Mr Loydell is passionate about seeing the scene develop more on the Sunshine Coast.
“I think for both Peripheral Arts and myself with Writers Republic, we’re really interested in capacity building, firstly on the Sunshine Coast but also in the Australian arts industry in a broader scope.
“Our work in putting on these events and bringing in artists of a high calibre gives the local arts community the opportunity to be connected to and inspired by more experienced artists.
“In the rest of Australia there’s really strong poetry and storytelling communities. There’s not quite the same level of organisation around it here as there are in capital cities around Australia. The interest and appetite is there, but it’s not until regular events come along that a community really develops around this.
“That’s what’s great about the Horizon Festival. We’ve got events at Sunshine Coast University, the Solbar, Palmwoods and Eumundi and we’re quite happy with that. There’s a lot happening in terms of the arts on the Sunshine Coast. It’s becoming an arts metropolis and that’s what Horizon Festival is all about – an arts festival that encompasses the entire coast and hinterland.”
Mr Loydell says younger people tend to gravitate towards performance poetry while older generations are attracted to storytelling, but he encourages budding performers of all ages to try their hand at either one.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to be a better storyteller or be a better poet,” he says. “You learn so much. Poetry and storytelling are an intrinsic part of humanity. Everything we do is storytelling, so come along, get involved and engage in something beautifully human.”
There are five spoken word and performance poetry workshops and competition heats starting on August 11 and culminating on September 1 at The Bunker, Imperial Hotel Eumundi. The Horizon Festival is on from August 24 to September 2, proudly supported by My Weekly Preview. For more information, visit horizonfestival.com.au.