For those of us living in non-urban centres, the physical landscape – the meanderings of the waterways, the pitch of the escarpments, the vastness of the deserts, the rise and fall of the land, the heat of sun and the frequency of the rain - often defines who we are.
For city dwellers, where imposed structures often mask the natural landscape, the physical features of the land are less likely to determine subsistence and existence. Where large outdoor celebrations in cities often happen in the only open space available, away from the big cities, they can happen in places of great beauty, places that have determined local stories and legends and places that have a fundamental resonance for people.
Our moment in 1998 is literally EPIC. It was the first of many large scale expressions of regional identity which have happened since, all of them notable for the matchless natural features of the chosen site, the cooperation of industry, community, government and local first nations peoples, and the marriage of artistic endeavour with a celebration of local stories and achievements.
Tcharkulda Rock, a massive granite outcrop in the wheat belt, was the site for Eyre Peninsula in Concert (EPIC), which saw 300 writers, dancers, choral singers, musicians and visual artists create a spectacle for 4000 people to promote a positive expression of regional identity. Aside from its sheer scale and artistic scope, EPIC was notable as an arts project in that was an integral part of a broadly focussed regional development strategy – a blueprint for the instigation of many major outdoor events in the years to come.
Written and researched by Jo Pike for Country Arts SA