January 20th 2013 – Paradiso at Town Hall with documentary screening “Thunder Soul”

January 18th 2013 – Sutherland Entertainment Centre

It’s an inspiring story about one man changing the lives of hundreds of people, at a time when they were at their most vulnerable, putting them on a path of creative expression…through arts education” – Director Mark Landsman

Sydney Festival and Funkdafied audiences will witness for the first time ever, the compelling and rare musical ingenuity from members of the legendary and award-winning THE KASHMERE STAGE BAND – the all funk big band survivors of the 1960’s United States band competition. Ten original members of the thirty elite high school stage band will be heading down under to perform for the 2013 Sydney Festival.

The KSB began their humble beginnings in the late 1960’s till 1974, at a time when citizens took to the streets in unison with clenched fists held high as a powerful symbol of unification and resistance, racial segregation and political uncertainty compounded civil unrest, consequently reducing America to its knees.

One band stood to overcome the violence that permeated an entire nation, uniting a country together to break the profound racial tension through Funk music! That’s right, FUNK MUSIC!

In 1967, Texan music teacher Professor Conrad O. Johnson, known as “The Prof” formed a band with his all African American high school students at Kashmere High School called the Kashmere Stage Band. Competing in the fiercely competitive, conservative and almost entirely white national High School Stage Band Competitions, the Kashmere Stage Band exceled beyond expectations.

Johnson and his big band broke down racial barriers and challenged the status quo with their elaborate funk arrangements. He also changed the bands look, encouraging them to embrace their own inimitable style by introducing an unprecedented element of showmanship; with each section choreographing slick moves with their instruments.

Amassing multiple awards around the nation, they went on to perform in Europe and Japan upon invitation. Reigning as the untouchable champions of this prestigious competition for years, Johnson not only changed the lives of hundreds of students, he instilled racial pride, faith and inner strength at a time when such values seemed a distant fable. Ultimately, his teaching methods and arts program went on to impact an entire education system to value the importance of arts education, now espoused by the current US education curriculum.

The band’s recordings have been collected by crate-diggers, feted (and sampled) by luminaries like DJ Shadow, and reissued by the respected label Stones Throw. All members of The Kashmere Stage Band are now aged in their 50’s, proving that music can not only serve as a powerful tool for education and change, but transcends age, race and gender.

A documentary called ‘THUNDER SOUL” released in 2011 was filmed narrated by Jamie Foxx, documenting the history of The Kashmere Stage Band from their humble beginnings in the late 1960’s, and documenting their deeply moving reunion in 2008 – before the death of their beloved Professor Conrad – a journey that will prove to be historic!

Check out the Thunder Soul trailer here:

At Sydney Festival’s Paradiso at Town Hall, The Kashmere Stage Band live performance is preceded by a screening of the fascinating documentary.


Funkdafied is an Event Promotions Company based in Sydney Australia, promoting regular quality events encompassing many genres from Afrobeat, Latin, Disco, Reggae and Hip Hop. At the heart of our passion is our strong focus on Jazz, Rare Groove, Soul & Funk. Created in 2006 by Sydney’s respected DJ and radio presenter John Cawley, Funkdafied was established dedicated to the development of Soul, Funk, and Jazz music in live venues across Sydney with a high calibre of local and international DJ’s and musicians under our artist and touring repertoire.

Bar snacks available.

*except Sunday 20 January for Kashmere Stage Band, 7pm doors

Paradiso Bar (on the terrace)

The Sydney Town Hall terrace becomes Paradiso Bar, the perfect place to meet friends for an after-work or pre-show drink. Free entry from 5.30pm (subject to capacity). Light hot meals available.


Where         Paradiso at Town Hall 483 George Street, Sydney (entry via Druitt Street)

When          January 20 Thunder Soul documentary screening at 7pm, Kashmere Stage Band at 9pm(free entry to Paradiso Terrace Bar from 5.30pm)

Tickets        $46 (standing tickets only, cushions provided for film screening)

Bookings     Ticketmaster 1300 723 038

                       Sydney Festival 1300 668 812

Check out for more information! 

Where         Sutherland Entertainment Centre 30 Eton Street, Sutherland

When          January 18 at 8pm

Bookings   Sydney Festival 1300 668 812

                     Sutherland Entertainment Centre 02 9521 8888

HANDSOME BOY MODELLING SCHOOL sampled The Kashmere Stage Band for this track “Holy Calamity” produced by DJ Shadow:

* DJ Shadow proved to be instrumental in re-releasing their catalogue to a wider audience.


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