Australia might be known for its music, food and literary festivals, but what about a bit more… morbid?
A new festival all about death is close to kicking its fundraising goal. We’re All Going to Die is the brainchild of Byron Bay bloke Stefan Hunt, a 30-year-old who cooked up the idea after a bad bout of anxiety.
“Two years ago, I suffered from anxiety, and it sucked,” he says in a promo video that’s gone viral. “I was so afraid of the unknown, I couldn’t make a simple decision, and as a result my life spiralled. But one day I penned a poem titled ‘We’re All Going To Die’ and suddenly everything seems small. If life’s only guarantee is death, then why not take a few risks.”
That simple thought led to another one, and suddenly a festival that he describes as like “an amusement park for your soul” is just a couple thousand dollars away from happening.
Held at the Commune in Sydney, the festival will include panel discussions on death (led by Triple J‘s Tom Tilley), art installations, immersive groove therapy (essentially dancing through bedroom installations to ‘revisit your childhood space’), a mini film festival, and a literal meditation on death.
“What might it be like to be taken on a safe journey to explore your deepest fears and life without you in it?” asks Mary Hoang, founder and head psychologist at the Indigo Project and who’ll be leading the Death Meditation. “Facing fear and death doesn’t always have to be scary. In fact, it can be illuminating, profound and a marvellous teacher to us.”
Hunt – who says his own worst fears are sharks, testipops, and the pressure to have his life figured out – told PEDESTRIAN.TV that he wants people to interact with fear without eliminating it entirely.
“It’s not possible to eliminate [fear entirely] and thank god because that’s how we dodged Sabre Tooth tigers back in the day,” he told us. “The difference is, we don’t have that threat now but fear still controls our lives. Everyday. That’s what I want to challenge.
“And you won’t be alone on this ride,” he continued. “I can guarantee that the person next to you has fears of their own and the trick is to bring a lightness to them so that you get to a point where you fear less and live more.”
He says the response has been overwhelming, with people all around the world “writing to us with their fears, and young people talking about death and how they want to live their life before that day comes.”
And the project is swiftly crowdfunding its way into life. It only launched a week ago, and already has reached over $23,000 of its $30,000 goal. Donations limits start at the affordable end ($5 for a digital ‘thanks’, $25 for a ticket, etc), but if any money bags wants to pledge $10,000, then Hunt will do a book reading at the location of your choice, stark naked.
No backers on that one yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
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Posted by We're All Going To Die on Wednesday, 4 October 2017