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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Grief vigil held from this Saturday in Mullumbimby

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Festival director Ella Rose Goninan contemplating grief, in the basin near where she was born. Photo supplied

Instead of their usual festival, this year’s Renew Fest is honouring our impact on the earth and our desire for regenerative change.

They are hosting a 30-hour Vigil For Grief this Mothers Day weekend, from Saturday noon till Sunday sunset at the Mullumbimby Showground’s Fig tree grove.

‘It will create a time and place to be contemplative, be immersed in a live surround-sound music-scape, listen to spoken word poetry, slowly walk a labyrinth, and sit in the prepared meditative zones,’ said organiser Ella Goninan.

Grief, earth, joy

‘As director of Renew Fest, I get to witness and support all the positive energy and enthusiasm that people have to care for earth, its living creatures and to heal our ways upon it. And I get to witness and support peoples grief, not just for what we have harmed in the past, and what we are continuing to harm in the present, but also a surreal grief for the future with whatever major changes are coming.

‘Is our lack of acknowledging the value of grief connected to how deeply disconnected we have become from the earth and each other in Western societies?

‘Can we find a way to welcome grief home and hold each other in our collective grief?

‘It has been my experience that the well-spring of grief is also the well-spring of true love, purpose and energising joy. These are the human qualities we need in bucket loads, to guide and direct us safely through and out of the current climate emergency.’

Coming To The Vigil

Entry is by donation, and you are welcome to stay for one hour or for many.

This is a BYO event. Bring food, drinks, picnic rugs and blankets, along with both rain and sun protection.

It is a BYO zero-waste event. Bring food, drinks, picnic rugs and blankets, along with both rain and sun protection. 

Local artists as Vigil Keepers

‘Over a dozen local musicians, poets and indigenous artists will generously hold the space with us. Vigil musicians include: HHAARRPP (aka Luke Jaaniste, who created the Fig Tree music scape at last year’s Renew Fest), string players Cye Wood (Cave in the Sky), Georgia Shine and Jolanda Moyle and sound-scape artists Brandon Cassidy and Cyrano Wildwood,’ said Ms Goninan.

Spoken word poets and writers include: Ella Rose Goninan (director of Renew Fest) and Thomas ‘Compost’ Keily (program coordinate at Renew Fest) along with Tanith Roberts, Jenni Cargill-Strong (founder of the Story Tree) and Zenith Virago (founder of Natural Death Care Centre).

‘We are particularly honoured to welcome Arakwal Bumberbin Custodian Delta Kay and Minyungbal Yugambeh songman Uncle Magpie and their community,’ she said.

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