Organisers of the Boomerang Festival of first nations have announced the 2014 event will not go ahead and said they are rebranding it as a biennial event.
The announcement follows the withdrawal of funding from a range of Aboriginal groups, organisers said in a statement this morning.
‘With recent funding cuts to the arts sector along with a number of Aboriginal organisations feeling the brunt of the latest federal budget, we have had to rethink our future and have decided to make Boomerang a biennial event,’ the statement read.
‘We will therefore be directing our planning for this year’s event that was to be held on October 4-6 into next year. Boomerang Festival organisers are as ever committed to making sure that the momentum of pride and interest continues and are currently seeking partners and supporters for its return on the October 3-5, 2015,’ it continued.
Festival director Rhoda Roberts made the announcement from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she is presenting the Boomerang Concert; a Tri Nations Project.
‘Boomerang is a world class event and it is for many, their first real interaction at an event that is programmed by and with a First Nation’s perspective. It is our cultural responsibility to ensure the authenticity, control and authorship of the event reflects the depth and diversity of our cultures, rituals and arts practices,’ Ms Roberts said.
‘It is essential that the festival program represents remote, rural and regional Australia along with international and often unseen First Nation global music and culture. This is an essential ingredient to what gives Boomerang its edge but faces costly challenges due to the nature of distances and travel expenses.
‘Actions speak louder than words; if we could only clone the generosity of [Bluesfest director] Peter Noble who financed the 2013 festival. What Peter did was an extraordinary moment of true reconciliation at work; he entered into deep dialogue and redefined the relationship with our world’s first peoples,’ she said.
‘Boomerang Festival [held at Tyagarah near Byron Bay] is a destination event and the 2013 Festival held on the October long weekend saw the first festival open at the Bluesfest site with over 5,000 attendees,’ Ms Roberts added.
‘While we are saddened the 2014 event is not taking place, by making our event biennial allows us to nurture and strategically look at the marketplace and seek financial support that will enable us to deliver an extraordinary event and meet even the most discerning festival-goers’ expectations.
‘We need your help to join us to share in the diversity. Ideally we are seeking sponsorship support in some way for what is a truly unique Australian and international cultural event,’ she said.