Gurrumul had Boomerang Festival crowd under his spell

THE Inaugural Boomerang festival saw an unprecedented group of Indigenous artists gather for three days over the weekend at the home of Bluesfest at the Tea Tree Farm in Tyagarah near Byron Bay.

On Saturday one of big favourites was Move It Mob Style. Dancers Darren Compton, Ghenoa Gela and Medika Thorpe had the kids and some parents having a great time kicking up the sand in the dance arena.

In the late afternoon Wantok SING SING brought together performers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, The Torres Strait Islands, The Cook Islands and Indigenous Australians for an awe-inspiring celebration of music and culture from around the Pacific.

As the sun finally faded, the Medics hit the main stage.

Unearthed by Triple J, the Medics' wide screen progressive metal sound was more suited for the Splendour in the Grass mosh pit.

But the Boomerang crowd, though far older and more sedate, went along for the ride as the Medics showed the changing face of indigenous music in Australia.

Next up was Casey Donovan bringing, as she said, her brand of big, beautiful and sexy to the stage.

Even though it was just Casey and an acoustic guitarist, it took four songs for the sound to get sorted, so we could hear her singing.

Casey took us through a brace of her originals before she finished with a crowd pleasing reading of the Zuton's song Valerie.

Then as the night chilled, the crowd slowly gathered toward the main stage for the much anticipated performance by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

Usually a festival crowd will become more raucous as the night wears on, and the headliner prepares to take the stage.

Instead, the Boomerang crowd grew still and silent as they waited reverentially for Gurrumul to appear.

As he began singing, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, he swept the audience up and carried them into the rest of the evening, the crowd feeling blessed to have heard this haunting voice - a voice that seems to connect us all back to something ancient and wonderful.


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