Infotainment Factory: AFL slammed for 'tone-deaf' ANZAC Day entertainment

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Friday, 19 April 2019

AFL slammed for 'tone-deaf' ANZAC Day entertainment


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The AFL have faced a bit of a backlash after announcing that an Australian band will perform as part of the blockbuster ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon.

Birds of Tokyo are set to feature in the pre-game entertainment on Thursday at the MCG, performing three songs. The WA band have performed at the 2018 Invictus Games and were a part of the 2013 AFL Grand Final entertainment.

However some players, fans, media and veterans have criticised the decision.

Collingwood's American import Mason Cox shared his opinion of the move on Twitter.

"The only music that should be pre-game on ANZAC Day is the bugle being played for one minute and everyone paying respect," he said.

"Big fan of Birds of Tokyo and Adam Weston but they should be halftime entertainment or postgame entertainment."

https://twitter.com/masonsixtencox/status/1119125471793270784

The origin of the band's name has no relation to war. When they formed, the name was inspired by a news report the band members had read about pollution and high-rise buildings leading to no birds in Tokyo. Still, there has been plenty of outrage.

"The league has been called tone-deaf, disgraceful, disrespectful, and the fan feeling seems to be that it is out of touch with the tone of ANZAC Day, the solemnity particularly of ANZAC Day," Today reporter Heidi Murphy said.

"One of the other big concerns is around the word 'Tokyo' in the band's name and the impact that could have on war veterans, particularly Japanese prisoners of war and their families and friends."

Birds of Tokyo at the ARIAS in 2010

RSL Victoria told the Herald Sun that they would have preferred the performance be moved to after the game rather than as pre-match entertainment.

“It’s part of the entertainment of the day so I’m not sure if you should cut them out completely,” RSL Victoria President Dr Robert Webster said.

“In terms of the band’s name the word Tokyo definitely still springs fear into the minds of some of the Japanese prisoners of war from world war two.”

https://twitter.com/WayneSchwass/status/1119071172727959552

AFL legend Wayne Schwass also agreed it was not appropriate.

"ANZAC Day should be a day of remembrance and quiet reflection not music or joyous celebration. This is a very poor choice/decision," he said on social media.

However David Campbell, a singer, actor and host of Weekend Today, did not believe there was any issue, as it was, after all, a football game.

Campbell noted that Birds of Tokyo are not the only band or live music to feature at the ANZAC Day clash over the years.

"Darryl Braithwaite has done it, Ian Moss has done it, Kate Cebrano has done it. There are loads of performers that have done this," he said.

Today panel split over ANZAC Day pre-game entertainment

"ANZAC Day is a very special day in our history but a dawn service is a dawn service. Football is also entertainment. If we wanted to really draw a line in the sand we'd say, well what are we saying here? That we can't have any entertainment at all?

"I feel like we fought for freedoms, that's what freedom is about, freedom is about paying your respect at a dawn service or locally, whatever you want to do and then getting on with your day and paying respect whatever way that you want."

https://twitter.com/MitchellGlenn/status/1119143956447498240https://twitter.com/shanemcinnes/status/1119350703351164928https://twitter.com/cjwhelan/status/1119083699205595139

Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire said there needs to be a "happy medium" and that has been achieved with the timing of the Birds of Tokyo performance.

“I think that there is a happy medium here if the Birds of Tokyo are on well before the ceremony,” McGuire told Fox Footy.

“These days if you turn up to the MCG there’s always rock music going on in the stands so it’s not as if it’s just quiet.

“The original nature of Anzac Day itself was that there was no reserves games allowed to happen because there was nothing allowed to happen before 12 noon.

"That’s changed over the years, but if we’re going to have a happy medium here, Birds of Tokyo on well beforehand, then let everyone sit around and gather their thoughts.

“Thirty minutes between them playing and the ceremony is probably a good enough gap between them.

“If I was pushed, I wouldn’t have anything but if that’s what’s going to happen then a 30 minute gap is probably good enough.”

ANZAC Day is a massive day on the AFL calendar

In addition to the Birds of Tokyo announcement, the AFL confirmed that the Australian Army Band will take part in a pre-game performance on the Ponsford Stage and Barbara Graham from the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Kirsten Hobbs from the Royal Australian Navy will perform the New Zealand and Australian national anthems during the Observance Ceremony. 

There will also be an RSL motorcade which will honour 16 of Australia’s returned service men and women prior to the match and the Australian Defence Force will lead the ANZAC Day ceremony. 

The AFL have faced a bit of a backlash after announcing that an Australian band will perform as part of the blockbuster ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon.

Birds of Tokyo are set to feature in the pre-game entertainment on Thursday at the MCG, performing three songs. The WA band have performed at the 2018 Invictus Games and were a part of the 2013 AFL Grand Final entertainment.

However some players, fans, media and veterans have criticised the decision.

Collingwood's American import Mason Cox shared his opinion of the move on Twitter.

"The only music that should be pre-game on ANZAC Day is the bugle being played for one minute and everyone paying respect," he said.

"Big fan of Birds of Tokyo and Adam Weston but they should be halftime entertainment or postgame entertainment."

https://twitter.com/masonsixtencox/status/1119125471793270784

The origin of the band's name has no relation to war. When they formed, the name was inspired by a news report the band members had read about pollution and high-rise buildings leading to no birds in Tokyo. Still, there has been plenty of outrage.

"The league has been called tone-deaf, disgraceful, disrespectful, and the fan feeling seems to be that it is out of touch with the tone of ANZAC Day, the solemnity particularly of ANZAC Day," Today reporter Heidi Murphy said.

"One of the other big concerns is around the word 'Tokyo' in the band's name and the impact that could have on war veterans, particularly Japanese prisoners of war and their families and friends."

Birds of Tokyo at the ARIAS in 2010

RSL Victoria told the Herald Sun that they would have preferred the performance be moved to after the game rather than as pre-match entertainment.

“It’s part of the entertainment of the day so I’m not sure if you should cut them out completely,” RSL Victoria President Dr Robert Webster said.

“In terms of the band’s name the word Tokyo definitely still springs fear into the minds of some of the Japanese prisoners of war from world war two.”

https://twitter.com/WayneSchwass/status/1119071172727959552

AFL legend Wayne Schwass also agreed it was not appropriate.

"ANZAC Day should be a day of remembrance and quiet reflection not music or joyous celebration. This is a very poor choice/decision," he said on social media.

However David Campbell, a singer, actor and host of Weekend Today, did not believe there was any issue, as it was, after all, a football game.

Campbell noted that Birds of Tokyo are not the only band or live music to feature at the ANZAC Day clash over the years.

"Darryl Braithwaite has done it, Ian Moss has done it, Kate Cebrano has done it. There are loads of performers that have done this," he said.

Today panel split over ANZAC Day pre-game entertainment

"ANZAC Day is a very special day in our history but a dawn service is a dawn service. Football is also entertainment. If we wanted to really draw a line in the sand we'd say, well what are we saying here? That we can't have any entertainment at all?

"I feel like we fought for freedoms, that's what freedom is about, freedom is about paying your respect at a dawn service or locally, whatever you want to do and then getting on with your day and paying respect whatever way that you want."

https://twitter.com/MitchellGlenn/status/1119143956447498240https://twitter.com/shanemcinnes/status/1119350703351164928https://twitter.com/cjwhelan/status/1119083699205595139

Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire said there needs to be a "happy medium" and that has been achieved with the timing of the Birds of Tokyo performance.

“I think that there is a happy medium here if the Birds of Tokyo are on well before the ceremony,” McGuire told Fox Footy.

“These days if you turn up to the MCG there’s always rock music going on in the stands so it’s not as if it’s just quiet.

“The original nature of Anzac Day itself was that there was no reserves games allowed to happen because there was nothing allowed to happen before 12 noon.

"That’s changed over the years, but if we’re going to have a happy medium here, Birds of Tokyo on well beforehand, then let everyone sit around and gather their thoughts.

“Thirty minutes between them playing and the ceremony is probably a good enough gap between them.

“If I was pushed, I wouldn’t have anything but if that’s what’s going to happen then a 30 minute gap is probably good enough.”

ANZAC Day is a massive day on the AFL calendar

In addition to the Birds of Tokyo announcement, the AFL confirmed that the Australian Army Band will take part in a pre-game performance on the Ponsford Stage and Barbara Graham from the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Kirsten Hobbs from the Royal Australian Navy will perform the New Zealand and Australian national anthems during the Observance Ceremony. 

There will also be an RSL motorcade which will honour 16 of Australia’s returned service men and women prior to the match and the Australian Defence Force will lead the ANZAC Day ceremony. 

http://bit.ly/2GyG0RM
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