Glenfield youth music festival to highlight self-expression

Jerry Zahija is hosting the Scream It Out youth festival at Hurlstone Agricultural High School next month. Picture: Simon Bennett
Jerry Zahija is hosting the Scream It Out youth festival at Hurlstone Agricultural High School next month. Picture: Simon Bennett

It's no secret that plenty of kids feel like outsiders.

Teenage years are often when we develop our personalities and really start to figure out what makes us who we are.

That's why music teacher Jerry Zahija has decided to host an all-ages mental health outreach festival fundraiser targetting alternative youths who struggle with self-expression.

The event - Scream It Out 2021 - will be held at Mr Zahija's school, Hurlstone Agriculatural High School at Glenfield, and feature a variety of performers, including the teacher's own band Carmeria.

"In my role as an assistant year advisor, one of the wellbeing staff, I get to know some of the problems that the kids experience," Mr Zahija said.

"Occasionally I learn that there are kids who are struggling to come out with their sexuality, or wanting to express themselves in the way they look or dress, the music they listen to.

"I hear that they might have problems at home which don't allow that self-expression, which is why the theme for this festival is self-expression. It's about creating a safe space when youths can be themselves and use music as a means of doing that."

Mr Zahija said there was a lot of support for the event in the school and broader community, and he even had some year 10 music students on the performing bill.

He said plenty of students, teachers and members of the music community were keen to help out on the day and volunteer their services, whether as emcees, crew or door staff.

"There's been overwhelming support," Mr Zahija said.

"Teachers have been coming to me and saying it's such an amazing idea, and some of the leadership students have asked how they can help.

"The support from the kids has been great, we've already sold heaps of tickets.

"Everyone understands that it's for a good cause and the volunteers all resonate in some way, shape or form with having troubled teenage years."

Mr Zahija said it was mostly rock and metal music on the cards for Scream It Out.

He said music could tap into our emotions in a way few other media could.

"How can you explain why you can listen to a certain song, feeling a certain way, and start bawling your eyes out," he said.

"I think it's just the crazy science behind music, that certain mixture of frequencies that can move us in a particular way.

"I've been a musician for 21 years now, and this festival is just me trying to blend my two passions."

Only the first 200 people to secure their tickets will be seated inside the hall for the main event.

Scream It Out Festival will include live music, a motivational speaker, catering, activities run by the Hurlstone student body, a raffle, and more.

The even will be held on Saturday, April 10 from 3pm-10pm at the Edmonson Hall and COLA at Hurlstone Agricultural High School on Roy Watts Road, Glenfield.

Performers include Stellar Addiction, Carmeria, It Happens, Passion Flowers and Marie Therese.