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South East NSW Hosts Australia's Newest Aboriginal Festival

In less than three months, on 22 September, South East NSW will host the newest Aboriginal festival in the nation – the inaugural Giiyong Festival, taking place at Jigamy, just north of Eden.
Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and South East Arts are working together to present this one day multi-arts festival. Celebrating traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture, Giiyong Festival 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.
Giiyong means ‘Come to Welcome’ in the local languages of Dhurga and Djiringanj. Les Kosez, Land and Sea Country Co-ordinator with Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council said the word Giiyong reflects what the festival will represent, “It’s about all people coming together, celebrating our culture and sharing experiences.”
Some of the most exciting Aboriginal performers in Australia will take the stage at Giiyong Festival, including powerful headline acts No Fixed Address and Baker Boy. 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 such as Deep Purple and Kiss, this seminal band from Adelaide went on to earn a place in Australia’s musical history as the first Aboriginal band to break into the mainstream music.
Fresh from a recent national tour and on the eve of release of a new album, No Fixed Address will bring incredible history and spirit to Giiyong Festival. They paved the way for many young artists, showing them they too could follow their musical dreams.
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. Baker Boy’s single Marryuna is played on high rotation on radio stations across Australia. His energetic show will headline at the Festival and he will also present a dance workshop. Dancer Ngioka Bunda-Heath will conduct hip hop dance workshops for primary and high school students.
Other visiting artists will include Benny Walker, Jessie Lloyd and Frank Yamma. They will be joined by professional artists from the region such as Gabadoo, CJ Leon, Chelsy Atkins, Warren Foster, Robbie Bundle and Driftin’ Doolgahls.
South East Arts are working on community engagement projects in the lead up to the Festival. These include original songwriting and hip hop video production with the Grow the Music team and Bega and Eden Marine High Schools. Musicians Chelsy Atkins and Corinne Gibbons are working with local primary schools to produce a very special performance for the Festival.
At the Giiyong Festival people can experience a variety of cultural workshops including weaving, shellwork, cooking, wood burning, bush medicine and more. Dance performances, cultural ceremonies, fils, visual and art and history exhibitions will take place throughout the day.
Giiyong Festival is a unique chance for the entire community to come together and celebrate, absorb and explore Aboriginal culture. The festival is a culmination of five years of work by South East Arts to support the development of Aboriginal creative producers and performers in the region.
The festival site, Jigamy, is a well-known property between Pambula and Eden on the pristine Sapphire Coast, owned and managed by Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and is the home to the Monaroo Boberrer Gudu Keeping Place. Twofold Aboriginal Corporation delivers many services to the local Aboriginal community and are one of the largest employers of Aboriginal staff 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.
The Giiyong Festival team is also 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.
Thanks to funding and donor support, entry to the Giiyong Festival will be free. The Festival project, to date, has received support from Create NSW through the Regional Partnerships Fund and Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund, NSW Local Lands Services, Festivals Australia, Destinations NSW, Katungul Aboriginal Health Service and Bega Valley Shire Council.
Ongoing support is still be sought and anyone interested in assisting is encouraged to contact South East Arts.
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