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/.