Arts & Culture

Announcing Australia’s newest Aboriginal Festival – Giiyong at Eden

By Ian Campbell 1 July 2018
In Arnhem Land they call Baker Boy the ‘fresh new prince’. His totem is the Olive Python, his moiety is Dhuwa and his skin is Burralung/Gela boy. Photo: Supplied.

In Arnhem Land they call Baker Boy the ‘fresh new prince’. His totem is the Olive Python, his moiety is Dhuwa and his skin is Burralung/Gela boy. Photo: Supplied.

The inaugural Giiyong Festival on September 22 will be a celebration of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture, and a unique event for South East NSW.

Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and South East Arts are working together to present this one-day multi-arts festival at Jigamy, just north of Eden.

Giiyong will be the first event of its type held within the Yuin Nation, which stretches from the Shoalhaven River down into East Gippsland in Victoria and across to the Great Dividing Range.

Pronounced: Guy-Yoong, Giiyong means ‘come to welcome’ in the traditional language spoken by Elders.

Alison Simpson, Program Manager from Twofold Aboriginal Corporation says, “The festival will provide an opportunity for everyone to participate, experience and share in the diversity of Aboriginal culture.”

Some of the most exciting Aboriginal performers in Australia will take the stage at the Giiyong Festival, including powerful headline acts ‘No Fixed Address’ and ‘Baker Boy’.

No Fixed Address, based in South Australia, have not only performed with Cold Chisel but also with INXS, Men At Work, Midnight Oil, Goanna Band, Redgum, and Mental As Anything but also with international acts Peter Tosh, The Clash, Ian Drury and Taj Mahal.

No Fixed Address, based in South Australia, have not only performed with Cold Chisel but also with INXS, Men At Work, Midnight Oil, Goanna Band, Redgum, and Mental As Anything. Photo: Supplied.

The program is being updated daily as more acts are being added to the bill.

No Fixed Address came together in 1979, influenced by punk music and hard-rock outfits like ‘Deep Purple’ and ‘Kiss’, this seminal band from Adelaide has gone on to earn a place in Australia’s musical history as the first Aboriginal band to break into mainstream music.

Fresh from a recent national tour and on the eve of releasing their new album, No Fixed Address will bring incredible history and spirit to Giiyong.

Danzal Baker – aka Baker Boy, delivers high energy rap and dance with cultural reflections while putting his Yolngu language front and centre of his music. You’ll hear Baker Boy’s single ‘Marryuna’ on radio stations across Australia, his energetic show will headline the festival and he leaves a bit behind; hosting a dance workshop for fans.

Other visiting artists like Benny Walker, Jessie Lloyd and Frank Yamma, will be joined by professional artists from the local region including, Gabadoo, CJ Leon, Chelsy Atkins, Warren Foster, Robbie Bundle, The Djaadjawan Dancers, and Driftin’ Doolgahls.

Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker is the real deal. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves that reach the soul. Photo: Supplied.

Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker is the real deal. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with a passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves that reach the soul. Photo: Supplied.

South East Arts are working on a number of community projects in the lead up to the festival, watch out for original songwriting and hip-hop video projects with the ‘Grow the Music’ team at the Bega and Eden Marine High Schools.

Talented singer-songwriters Chelsy Atkins and Corinne Gibbons will also work with local primary schools to produce a very special performance for the festival.

Apart from the entertainment program, people on the day can experience a variety of cultural workshops including weaving, shellwork, cooking, wood burning, bush medicine and more.

“The Giiyong Festival is a unique chance for the entire community to come together to celebrate, absorb and explore Aboriginal culture,” says Andrew Gray, South East Arts Manager.

“The festival is the culmination of five years work by South East Arts to support the development of Aboriginal creative producers and performers in the region.”

Aboriginal artists, craftspeople and creative producers are invited to register their interest in having a stall in the Giiyong Arts Market at the festival. Food vendors are also asked to register on the website.

South Coast’s Djaadjawan Dancers, finalists at Dance Rites and now in demand nationwide, will perform at Giiyong Festival. Image by Shannon Mason.

South Coast’s Djaadjawan Dancers, finalists at Dance Rites and now in demand nationwide, will perform at Giiyong Festival. Image by Shannon Mason.

Nathan Lygon, one of the festival’s cultural advisors says: “This is the first festival of its kind for the south-east, and certainly the first festival of its nature for Eden and Jigamy.”

“The idea is to bring community together from all over, to celebrate the wonders of Aboriginal culture through music and art,” Mr Lygon says.

Jigamy is a well-known property between Pambula and Eden on the pristine shores of Pambula Lake, owned and managed by Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and is home to the Monaroo Boberrer Gudu Keeping Place.

Want to get involved?

The Giiyong Festival team is calling for people who are interested in volunteering at the festival to go to the Festival website and register their interest.

Volunteers are needed for a number of roles including patron services, site decoration, exhibition monitors, setup and pack down and more. Volunteers will undertake cultural awareness training before the festival.

Alison Walker from Wallaga Lake has been honing her performance skills through Grow the Music programs offered by South East Arts. She will perform at Giiyong Festival on 22 September. Image by Grow the Music.

Alison Walker from Wallaga Lake has been honing her performance skills through Grow the Music programs offered by South East Arts. She will perform at Giiyong Festival on 22 September. Image by Grow the Music.

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