Planning for the first of what is hoped to be an annual, three-day international celebration of Aboriginal and world cultures, known as the Boomerang Festival, to be held at the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah each October is well underway.
Byron Shire Council is currently considering a development application (DA) for the festival, produced by the Jimmy Little Foundation in partnership with Bluesfest director Peter Noble.
Boomerang Festival’s creative director, Rhoda Roberts, (pictured) told Echonetdaily a DA for the event had been lodged recently and Council was considering it.
Ms Roberts, founder and artistic director of the annual international Indigenous festival The Dreaming at Woodford, said the festival aimed to end the disparity in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia ‘by providing an annual creative event that builds strong partnerships and showcases Aboriginal peoples to their advantage, quite simply their culture’.
The well-known NSW north-coast based actor and producer said from Cairns, where she is currently directing a new opera, that Australians and international visitors were being invited to ‘gather, exchange and camp on the Bundjalung lands at the Tyagarah Tee Tree Farm’ for the gathering from 1 to 3 October.
The program includes music, song circles, ceremony, dance, visual arts/crafts, a Bundjalung clans cultural exchange, panels and forums, ecology of the land and knowledge walks, youth camp and fire circles.
The not-for-profit Jimmy Little Foundation was established by the late Aboriginal singer-songwriter Jimmy Little and Graham Bidstrup, the former drummer with The Angels rock band, to bring a healthier future and improve kidney health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across regional and remote Australia.
Before his death in April this year, Dr James Little AO, spent two years on dialysis and underwent a kidney transplant, and wanted to help communities most affected by kidney disease.
‘Buzz’ Bidstrup, the foundation’s current CEO, and well-known songwriter and producer, also co-founded another popular band, GANGgajang.
A festival release says, ‘for many Australians the song, dance and ceremony of its first peoples has hit a mesmerising chord’ and the Boomerang Festival, ‘an international celebration of world cultures, will provide a new experience for return visitation to the area that combines local knowledge, tradition, rituals and culture alongside Australia’s acclaimed first nations artists and performers’.