The indigenous and non-indigenous community across South East NSW is excited about this weekends Giiyong Festival at Jigamy, just north of Eden – Thaua Country.
Giiyong is Australia’s newest Aboriginal festival, incorporating music, art, food, film, literature and spoken word performances, and the first of its kind for southern NSW.
Pronounced: Guy-Yoong, the word means ‘come to welcome’ in the traditional language spoken by Elders.
Festival partners Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and South East Arts say they have been overwhelmed by the community’s support, a buzz that is travelling up and down the east coast.
“We have artists and vendors from around Australia coming to Giiyong. Some of Australia’s biggest music acts will be on stage including Baker Boy, Jessie Lloyd and Frank Yamma,” says Festival Co-Ordinator, Jasmin Williams.
“This is also a huge opportunity for local musicians and performers and crowds will be really impressed.
“People of all ages have been involved in creating beautiful artworks, rehearsing original songs and helping to prepare the site for this huge event,” Ms Williams says.
Fans of literature and spoken word will not be disappointed, with acclaimed Aboriginal authors Ali Cobby Eckermann, Jeanine Leane and Dr Jackie Huggins taking to the Aunty Doris Kirby stage to discuss The Power of Every Word, on a panel with educator and actor Glenn Shea and facilitated by Robbie Bundle.
Local spoken word artist and poet Sassi Nooyoom (AKA Meaghan Holt) will also read some of her original material.
Uncle Ossie Cruse will discuss what Treaty might look like, show off his gum leaf playing and, with Laddy Timbury, discuss the aerodynamics of the boomerang.
Local dance groups will perform including the highly acclaimed Gulaga Dancers and Djaadjawan Dancers. There are hip-hop dance workshops for all ages, including the opportunity to learn from Baker Boy himself.
Films from around Australia will also be shown, including a new offering from Bush Mechanic’s David Batty, filmed entirely at Wallaga Lake.
Other highlights include the One Mob Dreaming Choir, a group of local school students, directed by Chelsy Atkins and Corinne Gibbons and performances by students from Eden Marine and Bega High Schools.
The Giiyong Festival runs for 12 hours from 10 am this Saturday (September 22) celebrating traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture.
The event promises to be a great way to get to know and learn about the local Aboriginal community.
Organisers are encouraging registrations online, to help them gauge where people are coming from. So far, people have registered from as far north as Byron Bay, from Victoria, ACT and South Australia. By far the biggest contingent is heading to Eden from the Shoalhaven and the Illawarra.
Entry and parking is FREE, donations are being gratefully accepted and go towards the staging of the event now and into the future.
*This article first appeared on About Regional.