Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee festival returns in 2021

City of Port Phillip
This year will see four exciting days that celebrate and showcase First Peoples arts and culture.

Events featuring talented First Nations female performers and music legend Archie Roach are highlights of this month’s Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee First Peoples Arts and Cultural Festival (YWN).

Previously a one-day event held by Port Phillip Council on the first weekend of February, the festival will run from 25 to 28 March, with a mix of onsite and virtual events to meet COVIDSafe requirements.

The festival opens on Thursday 25 March with a night of song, ceremony, dance and immersive art at Memo Music Hall, St Kilda.

Named for the current season as identified by the Boonwurrung, Gareeal (summer rains) is an all-female First Peoples production co-curated by Allara Briggs Pattison, featuring performances by Alice Skye, Bumpy, Monica Jasmine Karo and accompanied by string arrangements by Ensemble Dutala and friends. Gareeal celebrates the collective and individual journey all living things take, and the powerful connection to the land.

The festival also features a landmark performance from music legend Archie Roach, who will be performing Koorie, his grassroots album from 1988, on Saturday 27 March at the Espy.

Replay, Koorie (1988): The early protest songs of Archie Roach, will celebrate Archie’s little-known connection to St Kilda, revisiting the songs he wrote while living behind St Kilda’s Village Belle Hotel in the 80s. The intimate concert has been curated especially for the festival, with special guests joining Archie to talk, sing and celebrate the underground tape.

“It’s impossible to think about St Kilda’s music history without thinking of Archie Roach and the powerful songs he wrote. This event is a fantastic opportunity to experience an intimate performance from Archie in St Kilda and hear the powerful stories behind the songs,” Mayor Louise Crawford said.

Cr Crawford said Port Phillip Council had adapted many of its festivals to meet COVIDSafe requirements, including last year’s popular St Kilda Film Festival, Mabo Day and NAIDOC Week events.

“It’s exciting that we can continue to showcase First Peoples arts and culture this year. As well as this cultural event now being held over four days, the online component makes Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee festival even more accessible for both our community and audiences across Australia.”

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