20 September 2010

The Southside Festival at Coomaditchie Aboriginal community

The Southside Festival brings together the southern suburbs of Wollongong. Coomaditchie is an Aboriginal community, with also a cultural centre, in a place hitherto a bottom swamp land to which Aboriginal people in the region were shoved by white settlers.

The Festival on 18 September was a wonderfully warm and happy event, with two major events - a drama with circus elements and a concert by Christine Anu. Christine Anu's description of the event is here - copied below:

On Saturday 18th September 2010 from 5pm to 9pm  the Cowper street side of Coomaditchie lagoon will become an open air theatre to a spectacular event. Local artists and performers will tell an ancient dreaming story through a combination of narration, song, large scale puppetry, live percussion, stilt walking, fire sculpture, dance, screen projections and aerial performance.
Cumbangi– The Queen of the Reeds who featured in the 2007 Southside Festival  will be returning to Coomaditchie to check on the health of the lagoon.  While she is there she will tell the story of how the black swans got their feathers.  As is traditional at the Southside Festival the Wadi Wadi Mixed Tribe dancers will dance on specially prepared sand stage.
The theme of  year’s festival is ‘home’ . So in addition to the Black Swan dreaming story – we will all focus on the value of home. Many of the local community members have been working for the last few years to clean up Coomadichie Lagoon so that the black swans (and other species) can return home.  An integral part of the performance will be a giant nest – to represent home. Audience members will have had the opportunity to write and draw thoughts and messages of home onto calico banners in the weeks prior to and also on the day of the event and as part of the performance they will be called upon to “help build the nest”.
After the performance by local artists widely acclaimed singer songwriter Christine Anu, will be performing.
The Southside Festival is a FREE event with entertainment for the whole family. The festival celebrates culture and place.  “We focus on the richness of cultural diversity and the beauty of the local environment. “ says  Sue Leppan one of the festival organisers. The festival has been hosted at Coomaditchie Lagoon by local community organisations every second year since 2003.

Here are photos of the site, the Cumbangi play, and the concert. Also an MP3 recording of last two songs, regrettably the first song has the beginning chopped off!

The photos are with iPhone in the natural and eventually negligible light
– enjoy the impressions!

first a view down over the entertainment space, down to the lagoon

Helen with Sue, MC on the night and an organiser

The apparatus for trapeze artist later 

performers prepare

Here is the full meaning of multiculturalism 
NRMA sponsorship, Salvation Army organised, 
absolutely straight dinki-di Halal sausage sandwich coming up

and the show begins

concert in next post!