Music Victoria's chief executive Patrick Donovan says the benefits are twofold."We're taking the most influential live music people from the city out to the regions to see all of the venues," he said."We're going in, we're showing them the rooms, so of course you can't just walk into a cold dark room in the morning. The first toured through Central Victoria earlier this year.Andrew Parisi is the venue booker for Melbourne's Croxton Hotel, and recently expanded to the Frankston Pier Hotel.But, given the post-truth world in which we live - where anti-Islamic sentiment is becoming increasingly prevalent in mainstream media - Assafiri felt it was time to get her dating event on the road.And so last week, Speed Date A Muslim was held in Shepparton.Amped up after their performance, the band members are excited as they exit the stage."It was really cool to play on the bigger stage and in front of some music industry people, so hopefully it'll help us out in the long run," guitarist Xavier Hulse says.Lead singer Denver Nixon says the area may not have the music-friendly reputation of the city, but that is on the rise.But it is an important gig for the band, as a chance to show off to a group of music booking agents from Melbourne.
Tuna had been battling a swarm of aggressive Facebook trolls in the weeks leading up for the event, while Hana was unsure what to expect outside of her stomping ground in Melbourne’s Brunswick.
What can you do to change the minds and sway the hearts of people living in a town with a reputation – true or not – for supporting anti-Islam politics?
According to a metropolitan Melbourne restaurateur and human-rights activist, you pack 22 Muslim women on a bus, send them to the location in question, and ask the locals out on a date.
There were mothers and daughters, young couples, teachers, and even members of the local Indigenous community.
One young man, when asked by our reporter why he decided to attend, cited that he was Aboriginal and he believed that as such, all minorities should support each other and “..educate others.” Hanife Coskun is a fourth-generation Shepparton local who describes her family as “very Aussie”. Hanife no longer wears the head covering, and says that many people are not aware she is Muslim.The non-romantic meet-up that results is ‘Speed Date A Muslim’ and it just occurred in Shepparton, Victoria, a town located in the federal seat of Murray belonging to Pauline Hanson's One Nation party.