Musical trailblazer and advocate Jaguar Jonze will headline the inaugural Nurture Festival, a community-based event providing a platform for youths on the Coast to reach out and connect.

The festival will be the first of its kind on the Coast, providing an affordable and fun day of music and activities. It will also showcase a range of community organisations that engage with anyone who is looking for support with suicide prevention, loneliness and isolation, eating disorders, domestic violence, child sexual assault, bullying and the harmful impact of social media.

“Recording music and creating my music videos is one thing, but being on stage and sharing in a personal moment with my fans and music lovers is something else entirely,” says Jonze, who launched her new single Little Fires at the Eurovision Australia Decides event in February. “I can’t wait to bring that energy to stages around the country and finally be able to perform for those who have supported me through some of the toughest times in my career.”

endED co-founder and chairman Mark Forbes is one of a handful of people who started putting plans in place for the event well over a year ago, but is quick to impress that this is the festival the Sunshine Coast community has built.

“The Nurture Festival has pulled together a number of passionate businesses, organisations and individuals who want to see a change in how our youth are being supported,” he says. “The Sunshine Coast is a very supportive and nurturing community and so it has been no surprise that we have seen so many people who want to be involved.”

Country music singer Jade Holland, who is an ambassador for Nurture Festival and also the Mental Health Foundation, knows all too well how important it is to seek the help you need.

“I was only 21 and had been severely let down with fake tickets to the UK to take up a lucrative recording contract,” she says. “I experienced such severe depression that I shut myself away for an entire year, gave up music and didn’t hum a single tune; I was drinking a bit and not living a life at all. Dad was the one who sat me down and told me that seeking help was nothing to be ashamed of and that he had in fact done the same thing only 10 years earlier.”

The artists selected for this year’s Nurture Festival all have a tale to tell and will be joined by a range of community organisations facilitating fun activities and sharing information. Joining Jonze and Holland will be Soap, Sari Abbot, Mayah, Jess Irvine, Pottsy and Aspey Jones. There will also be a Talk Tent providing an informative and fun series of chats, as well as local schools performing dance and music routines.

“We want to provide a safe space for youth to open up and have a conversation about how they may be feeling and provide them with connections they need to move forward,” Mr Forbes says. 

“We know there is no single solution to improving someone’s mental health, but we know that when people feel like they have a ‘team’ of supporters and have the opportunity to talk things through, someone struggling is less likely to act.

Nurture Festival is on May 7 at Lake Kawana. Gates open at 10am and the first act kicks off at 11am, with Jonze to close the event by 10pm. Tickets are $5, visit nurturefestival.com.au. 

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