Review by Wanda Hill
Photo Credit: Julius C Montes
Festivals are such a great way to build community and nurture understanding. Boomerang is doing this in style with a stellar line up of musicians, speakers, artists and craftspeople. The festival site came alive with activity yesterday as people of all ages enjoyed the entertainment and took part in workshops and discussions. It is such a lovely feeling to sit down with complete strangers and take part in an activity like basket weaving or woodcarving. Before long, people are laughing, making friends as well as learning new skills or discovering hidden talents.
A look around the festival is a picture of life at its best, groups of kids playing football together, families sharing food, friends who haven’t seen each other for years discovering each other in the crowd. That magic feeling of people bonding over shared ideas was alive in the air. Ignited by inspiring words from wise elder Dr Gondarra, and eloquently expressed in music and lyrics by Xavier Rudd.
Australia loves celebrity chefs and this was apparent by the numbers of people gathered in the AlterNATIVE venue listening to Mark Olive and Clayton Donovan discussing cooking techniques for all manner of game and wild plants. This venue enjoyed a wide variety of extraordinary acts through out the day including Jerome Kavanagh from Aotearoa (New Zealand) performing Te Haa Aio.
Jerome and his cousins created a warm and beautiful atmosphere playing many different types of traditional handcrafted instruments including pipes made from albatross wings, whale teeth, gourds, shells and wood. All accompanied by guitar and vocals. The audience was stoked to join in singing harmonies and participate in call and response challenges. Jerome’s body was covered in welts after a very vigorous display of the powerful Haka.
Tammy Anderson in her one woman show I don’t want to play house delved in to subject matter often kept hidden an secret within families and society such as child abuse and domestic violence, in an extremely intelligent, well crafted stage show. This show is Australia’s longest running Indigenous play and a very smart choice by Rhoda Roberts to have her perform here.
Feeling pretty raw after the emotions evoked from Tammy’s performance it was wonderful to go back out to the main stage and be uplifted by Casey Donovan’s exquisite vocal ability and proud contagious exuberance that is so refreshing.
Then came the man that everyone had been waiting for… Gurrumul. Ernie Dingo had the task of introducing Boomerang s headline act and was perfect in his question to the crowd…How do you describe Gurrumul? Many punters offered suggestions… angelic, heavenly, magic, were a few.
I’m not going to attempt to describe him other than to say I slept really peacefully last night after having shed a few tears and come to a really nice quiet place within myself. Thanks for sharing yourself with the world Gurrumul, your voice and music is exquisite. You have something that everyone can connect with.
So I’m in the mood for some fine country music that is on the menu for today with Warren H. Williams and John Williamson and feeling fortunate to be able to spend another night under the clear starry sky soaking up ancient and new sounds from around Australia and beyond.
The Boomerang Festival will be held at Bluesfest’s home, the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm on the October Long Weekend, October 4th -6th 2013.