The long wait is over as the acclaimed Giiyong Festival will return early in 2022 to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian communities together.
It has been three years since the hugely popular first festival was held in the Yuin Nation in 2018. It then endured cancellations in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has now been announced it will go ahead again on 9 April, 2022.
“The format will be slightly different, but we can assure you the crowds will be in for some amazing local and national performers, interspersed with cultural learning, dance and thought-provoking short films,” said Giiyong Festival project manager Jazz Williams, from South East Arts.
She said the event’s cancellations two years in a row had been debilitating, and that it had been a challenge for anyone organising large-scale events in the past two years.
“We considered many options, including shifting to an all-digital delivery, but we know the magic of Giiyong Festival lies in its ability to bring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities together in person for such a rich, positive cultural experience,” said Ms Williams.
She said the 2022 festival will provide a unique opportunity for people to be immersed in an event that is not only entertaining, but offers cultural education.
“Local, regional and national Aboriginal performers and cultural leaders will present the event with authority and endless talent, and the ultimate effects of that will be evident in an increased appreciation of the value of Aboriginal culture, meaningful engagement and emerging relationships, and a significant financial contribution to the local economy due to an influx of visitors enjoying our local accommodation, food and other activities,” said Ms Williams.
The 2022 event line-up includes rapper Briggs, singer-songwriter Shellie Morris and award-winning didgeridoo player William Barton.
Also appearing will be Buddy Knox, Nooky, Dizzy Doolan, Stiff Gins, Ron Callaghan, Gadhu Dreaming Band, Nikea Brooks-Hayes and Dre Wicks, Gabadoo, and lockdown internet sensations Matty Walker and Kyarna Rose.
The festival screen will feature local art, interviews and demonstrations of cultural practices, while festival MC Sean Choolburra will also return.
The inaugural Giiyong Festival drew in a 6000-strong crowd, mostly from South East NSW, and while there were attendees from across the state and further afield, the organisers’ main intention was to create a cultural gift to the local region.
“We know the upcoming event will attract visitors from outside southeast NSW, but from the perspective of the organising team, the 2022 event is first and foremost for the people of our region,” said Ms Williams.
“Giiyong is the first multi-arts Aboriginal cultural festival in southern NSW, and exposure to Aboriginal performers and cultural experiences here in our region is limited so we wanted to create an event that showcases the rich, diverse cultural history and talent that exists right here.
“It also gives us a chance to bring nationally recognised performers to audiences here in the region that might otherwise not have a chance to access those experiences.”