The much loved Boomerang Festival is back at Bluesfest in 2017! Managed and programmed from an Indigenous-led perspective, Boomerang offers a unique point of difference on the Australian festival landscape. Curated by respected Bundjalung woman Rhoda Roberts; Boomerang is the first of its kind. Never has an Indigenous festival of this holistic calibre been so accessible; featuring an array of music and dance along with cultural knowledge exchanges and thought provoking conversations. Hosted by the oldest living culture it’s a time to get up close and personal, there is nothing that quite matches the exchanges our audience’s experiences.
The Boomerang Precinct provides a safe, family-friendly program of arts and age-old culture and rituals, along with workshops and interactive experiences.
The line up is filled with gifted artists from Canada, New Zealand, Tibet and of course some of fantastic Indigenous talent from Australia will take the stage at Boomerang this year as well.
Boomerang Director Rhoda Roberts AO shares her excitement about this year’s festival:
“Let’s begin the healing together and dance to the new music , listen to the language and witnessed the ancient and the accessible . Now the time is right. Boomerang festival in conjunction with Bluesfest knows it’s time to redefine the great experiences of festivals . Come and dip your toe in.”
Bluesfest Director Peter Noble OAM , on the importance of the Boomerang Festival:
Boomerang, the festival is important please let me take a moment to tell you why I feel that way. I had an experience not that long ago, I was in London and went to the British Museum to see the exhibition called 'First Contact'. It's the story of when the British first discovered Australia, and of the interaction between them and the locals. Every 20 or so years the Brits dust off the Gweagal Shield. It was on display at the exhibition, and I saw it for the first time. Upon inspection, it became a very emotional moment for me, as I could clearly see the holes in the shield from the musket bullets. My thoughts were that someone possibly died who was holding that shield. If they knew the power of the rifles facing them, I could not help but wonder, would they still stand their ground?
For that day, when that shield was held to repel the invaders, was in 1770, and the place was Kurnell, in Botany Bay. It was the first interaction between indigenous Australia and the explorers in recorded history, one that would lead to the European colonisation of Australia, and it seems the Captain Cook's Soldiers came in to shore all guns blazing. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since that fateful day the outcomes from that first encounter still affect every Australian. Our original Australians have endured much at our hands, yet, despite so much, they have continued to be a pillar of what it is to be an Australian, as they are, and always will be our original culture. One that has continued beyond written history, and has so much to give us non Indigenous people to enrich our lives.
The Boomerang festival is a glimpse into this wonderful culture that exists all around us, and as Australians, within us, even if we consciously are not aware of that. Rhoda Roberts is its creative director, and I am her proud logistical partner. Bluesfest is Boomerang’s current home, and one day it will be a standalone festival. In these days of zero support from our Government Arts organisations, we have had to dig deep this year to maintain the festival's continuance.