The SCHEMA Collective

Above: the SCHEMA festival crew. Photo @johnralphmedia

SCHEMA Festival 2019 was in November and I went there to write a review for Scenestr. Some of the SCHEMA Collective took time out to chat, so here’s more about them.

Rashid Alkamraikhi is a co-founder of the Collective, and bass player in bands Massic and Doctor Parallax. His amazing name is Welsh translated into Arabic translated into English! He met Nyan Tun and me and gave us media passes for the weekend. Rashid is from Cairns and ran festivals there as well. In Brisbane, he was keen to take on the graphics, website and other event management responsibilities for SCHEMA. 

Rashid Alkamraikhi. Photo by Nyan Tun

“There are quite a few of us that make up the Collective: Stoyan, Georgia, Jesse, Bojan, Caitlin, Ryan, and others.

In this context SCHEMA means networks that join together. When you think of one thing, you think of all the other things attached to it, which give it its true context. We’ve taken that in an analogous way and applied it to the music industry. It’s not just the music, it’s all the things associated with the music. We’re trying to be involved with as much of it as we can.”

Rashid Alkamraikhi

Rashid said everyone has day jobs and this is work done on the side and fuelled by passion. “We’d love it to be financially sustainable, but we’ve only been around for two years and it’s something we’ll have to work towards.”

I walked over to the Valley Drive-In to see Valtozash Bigband. Festival Stage Manager Bojan Sambolec was listening to drummer Ben Shannon soundcheck. “I think he’s the best drummer in Brisbane,” Bojan mused. Bojan’s a drummer too, and a guitarist. We stood there as Ben unleashed a murderous thudding, shattering our minds in a cathartic kind of way. Afterwards Bojan turned and smiled at me serenely. I sighed, and asked him about his involvement in SCHEMA. 

Bojan Sambolec. Photo by Nyan Tun

“I’m one of the co-founders of SCHEMA, and I guess I got into this through other bands. We all sort of made friends and created our own scene. The charities is definitely a part of it – we’ve always wanted to involve charities.” Bojan helped me by describing the music styles of other bands lined up that day. He plays in bands Adriatic and Homeless Yellow. I’m getting a geography lesson here. Bojan’s name is Croatian.

Bojan in Homeless Yellow. Photo by SCHEMA Collective

Stoyan Stoyanov is the founder of the SCHEMA Collective.

Stoyan Stoyanov. Photo by Nyan Tun

Stoyan has been in the music event scene for 25 years, starting in Bulgaria in the late 90s as a vocalist in a hardcore band. He came to Brisbane in 2012, joined a band called Adriatic and they’re still going today. “A couple of members of the band have Croatian heritage and I’m from Bulgaria, so we’re all from the Balkan Peninsula – hence the name Adriatic.” 

Stoyan fronts Adriatic. Photo by SCHEMA Collective

When Stoyan came to Brisbane, bands were usually playing to audiences of about 20 people. “It was very demotivating. We had to create unity in the scene, and it was going to be through musicians working closely together to promote each other.”

Stoyan is a university researcher for adolescent mental health, and Senior Researcher for Kids Helpline. The Not-For-Profit organisations working with SCHEMA are: Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), Kids Helpline and Brisbane City Council. “These organisations support us financially and it’s thanks to them that we could afford to put on this festival,” Stoyan said.

He said ADF aims at harm minimisation. “This is the message we promote at SCHEMA. Kids should have fun, but they need to know how to do it in a safe way and not be harmed. It’s through the scene and through music that we can keep people connected and sane, and motivated to stay out of trouble.”

In the same line of thinking, Stoyan wants to promote All Ages events. These are events which include young people under 18. SCHEMAFest 2019 had an All Ages event on the Sunday from 1-5pm, with its own line-up. It was an expensive undertaking.

Windwaker headlining the All Ages event

If there is a message I can send out, it is that work needs to be done between government regulators and venues, to provide more All Ages events. Young people are the most passionate about music, and they are potentially at risk because they are at the crossroads of their lives not knowing which directions their lives will take. They need to be engaged in the scene, not outside looking in, unable to enter.

Stoyan Stoyanov

Animal Liberation Queensland and Sea Shepherd were also partners and friends of the festival.

The SCHEMA Collective. They’re on a mission, and they say it best…

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