Blues boss accuses metro media of “cultural apartheid”

Peter Noble, Rhoda Roberts and Federal Minister Tony Burke at the launch of the Boomerang Festival at this year's Bluesfest.
Peter Noble, Rhoda Roberts and Federal Minister Tony Burke at the launch of the Boomerang Festival at this year's Bluesfest. Christian Morrow

BOOMERANG Festival promoter, Peter Noble blasted the national media yesterday labelling the lack of coverage of next month's Byron Bay Indigenous arts event as "cultural apartheid."

The inaugural festival, which runs over three days in October and is headlined by Gurrumul Yunupingu and Archie Roach, needed to sell 3500 tickets per day to be viable, but had only sold between 800-1000 sales per day, Noble said.

He said poor ticket sales in Sydney and Melbourne were a direct result of city media's poor coverage of the event.

"Here on the North Coast we are getting the coverage, and wherever we are getting media coverage we are selling tickets," Mr Noble said.

"But in Sydney we've sold 74 tickets and in Melbourne 75.

"At one level apathy equals cultural apartheid... if people remain apathetic, what that means is we don't care about our indigenous Australians," Noble told media.

"If we really cared about our Indigenous artists we would be spending the money. Reconciliation needs to happen in action," he said.

"I know the first years of a festival are the hardest, but we are being hamstrung by city media," he said.

"We just can't seem to break through their glass ceiling. They are not seeing the event as significant."

The festival is looking at adding John Williamson and Dan Sultan to its line-up to attract more media interest, Noble said.

"We got onto Triple J for the first time today," he said.

"It's sad that we have to (use the apartheid reference) to get a festival of this calibre noticed."

Noble said despite ticket sales, the festival would go ahead "by hook or by crook" and that he had invested $1.2million of his own money into the event to be held at Tyagarah Farm.

"I know if we can deliver this first year we'll have the support in the following years."

Topics:  bluesfest boomerang festival peter noble

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