Young people build confidence and self esteem during tough times

The Shockwave Program and Festival is a unique project run by local councils to address the wellbeing of young people affected by drought in Central West QLD.

Shockwave Mentor, Pip Kelly says “Young people can sometimes be left out of the picture. Shockwave has a whole of community approach, one which focuses on the leadership of young people while also bringing families together, to relax and celebrate, despite stressful times.”

The program provides year round creative skills workshops in Longreach, Winton, Blackall and Tambo and an arts festival in Blackall where young people from around the region have the opportunity to work in set roles and show their leadership skills. The program and festival aims to teach creative and teamwork skills while also teaching young people how to cope with life’s challenges now and in the future. Young people have access to contemporary art practices like photography, film-making, beat-boxing, hip- hop, circus, skateboarding facilitation and singing/music performance – there is something for everyone.

Ebonee Christopher a 17 year old Longreach local, was first exposed to hip hop dance when she attended Shockwave workshops at the age of 13. Since then she’s been mentored and trained in various dance styles by professional dancers from Brisbane and has now become one of the key dance facilitators for Shockwave.

Ebonee Christopher - Longreach“Shockwave is important because it acts as a creative outlet for youth living in the regional towns. And also there is so much talent discovered at the festival year after year! Running my own hip hop workshops has really brought out my self confidence and made me a lot more competent as a teacher and dancer in general”

An external evaluation of the Shockwave Program and Festival shows that the activities have a positive effect on young peoples wellbeing while also bringing together several communities across the region to celebrate the voices and ideas of young people.


Kaitlyn James went from being a shy girl who was bullied at school to developing her singing voice and guitar chops and conquering the stage at Shockwave.

Kaitlyn James - Longreach

“Shockwave showed me ways of dealing with it and by the end of year 12 no one dared give me any hassles. For me, I learnt guitar, I wrote songs, I found my escape, I always joined in with the art work, I danced, I did everything available to me and it got my mind off everything. Shockwave is a big part of making you who you are. Because you find your true self when you’re here. Because you don’t care what anyone else thinks, you’re just doing your own thing.”

Shockwave is looking for a corporate or philanthropic sponsor to help keep the program alive and sustainable in the future. They’d also like to keep expanding the program to reach more remote towns with no access to arts or creative skills training. If you’d like to support Shockwave, contact Alison Shaw at Blackall-Tambo Council –
Checkout the Shockwave website and video here: