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March 2, 2021

Boomerang ticket sales yet to soar

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Slow ticket sales for the Boomerang Festival are a sad reflection on our commitment to genuine reconciliation, the director of the Indigenous music and arts festival told media yesterday.

Rhoda Roberts, who also directed the Dreaming and Message Sticks festivals, said she feared that without the performance opportunities offered by such events, ‘in 30 years our language, our culture, our dance, our art will cease to exist’.

‘We are in a situation where we are continuing with the event but we are now calling on Australians to come and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers,’ she told ABC.

‘Producing a festival with no government funding, like any business, we do need to rely on our income to make it viable.’

Ms Roberts told the SMH, ‘if you truly believed in reconciliation you would buy a ticket… This is what we should have been doing years ago.’

The festival, which is being bankrolled by Bluesfest director Peter Noble, has so far sold only between 700 and 1,000 tickets for each day, mostly from around the region. It needs to sell at least 3,500 for each day to break even.

Only a handful of tickets have been sold in Sydney and Melbourne, where Bluesfest ticket sales boom.

Mr Noble went further in his criticism, describing the apparent apathy towards the Indigenous cultural event as ‘cultural apartheid’.

‘I’m just not prepared to accept there’s not enough Australians who care [about] Indigenous culture,’ he told SMH.

Despite the prospect of facing major losses if ticket sales do not improve, he is determined the event will proceed ‘by hook or by crook’ and has scotched rumours that it was about to be cancelled.

For more information or to buy a ticket go to www.boomerangfestival.com.au/.

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  1. Maybe the price of tickets is just unaffordable? My family (with 2 young kids) would love to go and give the kids a festival full of indigenous culture however when we added up the cost of tickets, food and drinks means its just way out of our league and I know a lot of other local families feel the same way.

  2. I think it’s drawing a long bow to say that if ticket sales are low it’s cultural apartheid. Perhaps the reason the recent Mullumbimby festival was so successful was that it appealed to a broad range of people and cultures. Maybe including all cultures as equal might be the way to go rather than segregating them?

  3. Wow, that’s harsh. I think there are plenty of ways to positively support reconciliation other than buying a ticket to what in the end is a commercial venture. Obviously the promoters didn’t do their homework before taking the risk on this scale of event. We are festival-ed out in this shire…

  4. Rhoda and Peter, You both have drawn the race card straight off and tried to play on peoples emotions. Very inappropriate, and Rhoda reconciliation seems to have been flouted in too much political jargon to apply to cultural events.
    Further would say as you were made aware the Julinbah Yowarl Rainbow Corroborree at Rocky River on 20th – 22nd September has been promoting cultural exchange for a number of years. It is grass roots, yet the quality of the performers, families sharing and experiencing a majic setting on the River is affordable. Just sayin, hey. Hope to see you out there!

  5. I stopped going to live music shows a long time ago for 2 reasons mentioned – high ticket prices and too much segregation. When The Boomerang Festival was announced with Peter Noble behind it, I wondered why more indigenous musicians aren’t included in the Blues and Roots Festival – besides having many very talented musos, which I discovered on NITV, (yet another example of segregation), the indigenous people have good reason to be blue – they also happen to be the real roots of our culture and should be showcased as such for the world to see and learn. It’s enough to make one wonder about the meaning of Advance Australia fair.
    Sandy Gandhi

  6. The reason Peter noble mentions cultural apathied is because mainstream media is not supporting the boomerang festival. Check ur tv and newspapers. It’s all pink and tony Abbott. Peace and luv.

  7. Firstly the price of tickets are too high for many to afford including Blackfella’s. Secondly reconciliation amongst the language groups in this area is needed as much as across the mainstream/Originee divide. There has been an anihalation of the original culture and peoples of this Ngaraakwal area by other groups.
    Bundjalung for a start is a broadstroke made up name across even falsely named tribes in many instances that suits governments and “Johnny come Lately” so to use this area to Commercialise the culture is a double whammy for potential failure is truth is to reign.

  8. Some interesting comments…..

    I have been very excited about the festival, but unfortunately have not been in a position financially to buy my ticket yet (on my long list of things is a washing machine dying, and sadly, this has to take priority). HOWEVER, I am still hoping to go and weeks ago, made a very detailed list of all the performances and talks I would like to see.

    Bluefest is entrenched in the region and has a huge reputation nationally and internationally. New events like this can take time to grow, which is not an indication of people’s of lack of interest in reconciliation.

    There is a fantastic range of performers and it will be a great event. Don’t lose heart 🙂

  9. It is sad and irritating that Bluesfest organisers blame ‘Our commitment to genuine reconciliation’ on poor ticket sales for the Boomerang Festival.

    I also find it particularly annoying and completely out of good taste for Rhonda Roberts to prattle on about how ‘This week celebrates Fifty Years of the Martin Luther King amazing speech’… If she’s referring to the ‘I have a Dream’ speech, she’s historically incorrect…as this speech was first introduced in Detroit in June of 1963.

    It also had nothing to do with reconciliation…it’s theme was public perception and recognition that Blacks were in fact not so different than Whites. The concept of reconciliation should be reserved for the treatment American Indians suffered at the hands of White Settlers which is akin to the situation the Aboriginals were thrown into here by the White settlers.

    The organisers also ignored the potential impact their event would have on the Julinbah Yowarl Rainbow Corroborree, whose annual schedule coincides with their event. However, as the public’s response has been less than overwhelming, Roberts has gone on record to ABC, in a ridiculously shabby attempt to play the race card and shame residents into attending the event. And her abuse of the SMH to tell us “If you really believed in reconciliation you’d buy a ticket” It’s bad enough she said that- but to carry on and state that the act of purchasing a ticket to a privately organised, very commercial venture is a public responsibility and if the event is not successful (ie: putting $ in Mr. Noble’s coffers, it is no one’s fault but the public.

    Are we to believe that Mr. Noble is now running an altruistic event for the public good? If he didn’t believe he could make some bucks off it, he wouldn’t have ramrodded it thru Council and down their throats. Everyone seems to forget Mr. Noble got Byron Council approval for one event per year and his ‘Bluesfest’ occupies that slot.

    It seems that standing in the shadow of Ms. Roberts (as of yet) unsullied reputation, Mr. Noble is trying to bastardise the Boomerang Festival to include ‘Oppressed First World Artists’ too. This could be a good time to explain how approx. 70% of a ‘Blues & Roots’ themed music festival can include the likes of Iggy Pop and other performers that don’t even skirt the periphery of Blues or Roots…

    If, as Mr. Noble stated, he cannot believe there is insufficient interest in his festival, due to the cost of attending, or due to the acts booked, perhaps he should invite the Rainbow Corroborree over to Tyagarah and hold a free festival as a giveback both to the residents of the Shire to raise cultural awareness; and as a gift to the local indigenous peoples- who, at one time probably owned the Ti-Tree Plantation land that Bluesfest now owns and attempts to privately transform from Ti-Tree to Money Tree.

  10. Perhaps support more local acts,ARC ( Australian reconciliation Company ) Dreaming has been sadly overlooked, eventhough the show has an International appeal and draws sell out audiences , the opportunities are far and between in Australia,why not cut down on budget by putting local Indigenous performances( Byron Bay,Brisbane,Ipswich) on the bill,yes, there are some big name acts that keep on appearing on most festivals and thats great but perhaps it is time to expose that whats local and of an International professional standard, a mixture of both would be ideal,something to consider if there would be another festival like the Boomerang, a festival which I do treasure and yes, I do agree with some of the above, tickets are pricey and out of reach to a large percentage of the community so more local would cut down the budget and pricing of such festival, a safer bet for a festival in its first year!

  11. Way WAY too expensive!! Organisers, start off with really cheap tickets and free camping, plus bring all your own food and drink if you want. Get a loyal following, then raise prices to a reasonable rate. Look long term. This event had FAIL written all over it from the start.

  12. This looks to be an amazing festival and wonderful celebration of Indigenous culture and I would love to be there BUT the ticket price is way too high for most people, sadly.


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