BYRON Bay's inaugural Boomerang Festival, to be held in October, is crucial to keeping indigenous culture alive into the next decades, says director Rhoda Roberts.
Roberts, along with the festival's producer, Peter Noble from Bluesfest, yesterday launched the full program for the three-day world indigenous music and arts event where musicians, dancers, films, artists, speakers and workshops will showcase 70 clan groups from across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia along with international acts and local Arakwal dancers.
Big names already announced include Archie Roach, Shellie Morris and a new generation of emerging musicians including the Medics from Cairns and Thelma Plum from Brisbane alongside a diverse speakers program including George Negus, Jeff McMullen (ex-60 Minutes) and Gary Foley.
Both Noble and Roberts stressed the need for the Boomerang Festival to be a commercial success to keep indigenous cultural stories alive.
"If we don't keep sharing these stories, I predict our culture will not survive the next 30 years," Ms Roberts said.
With the demise of many public-funded indigenous cultural events, such as the stand-alone Dreaming Festival Roberts oversaw for 17 years, including from 2004-2009 at Woodford, new commercial events were needed, she said.
After cutting their teeth on non-profit festivals, indigenous artists were ready and willing to earn a livelihood from commercial events such as Boomerang.
"The Dreaming has left us with a wonderful legacy," she said.
"I think people are ready for Boomerang - people are mesmerised by indigenous culture.
"Festivals such as this are a way of revitalising our culture and creating prospects for our indigenous artists.
"We have no government support for this festival, so this first one will be a make-or-break."
Bluesfest boss Peter Noble said the festival site at Tyagarah was always designed to support events "that matter".
"We want to do more than just music," he said.
"It's a multi-purpose site that will run a full gamut of events."
Boomerang Festival 2013 will be held over the October 4-6 long weekend at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm.
Tickets are available at www.boomerangfestival.com.au.
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