The highy anticipated Giiyong festival was a "massive success" organisers say, with thousands flocking to Jigamy Farm near Eden to celebrate the cultural event.
Giiyong meaning 'come to welcome' was true to its name with people from all walks of life coming together for a day filled with stall holders, presentations, performances and workshops that taught and celebrated Aboriginal arts, culture and resilience.
From ochre painted dancers, to didgeridoo jamming sessions, showstopping performances and friendly faces - the festival grounds were abuzz with activity, laughter, yarns and music on Saturday, November 18.
The festival's action packed day began at the main stage down on the shores of Pambula Lake at 10.30am. In the minutes leading up to the Welcome to Country, hundreds of people flocked from the car park, down past the Bunaan Ring, Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and settled in on the lawn adjacent to the Aunty Rose Mumbulla-Stewart Stage.
Walking out in a fur coat Uncle BJ Cruse addressed the crowd, giving a warm welcome to all, before promptly introducing the Duurunu Miru dancers.
One by one the dancers emerged in their ochre painted outfits, lining up behind the founder of the group Shaquille Aldridge, meanwhile Nathan Lygon began to prepare the smoking ceremony.
With a powerful call Shaquille led the dancers forward, as they slowly began to circle the front of the stage, in an impressive welcome dance.
The program for the rest of the day was spread out around the grounds of Jigamy with all the musical performances hosted at the Aunty Rose Mumbulla-Stewart Stage (main stage), dances and workshops at the Aunty Tina Bobbins Ganya stage in the Bunaan Ring and powerful talks and presentations hosted at the Aunty Beryl Cruse Stage, within the Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu Keeping Place.
The main stage featured a series of powerful performances by local musicians beginning with Dust n Echoes, leading onto the Djinama Yilaga and Mudjingaal Yangamba Choirs, Ross Knight and Nikea and Dre - all of which helped set the pace for big acts Eric Avery and J-MILLA that brought in enthusiastic crowds.
Meanwhile the Aunty Tina Bobbins Ganya stage remained filled throughout the day with a steady in-pour of people that gathered round the Bunaan Ring to observe cultural presentations from traditional dances led by various Yuin dance groups.
When there weren't dances, there was Didgeridoo jamming sessions and demonstrations of cultural practices that taught audiences about native foods and the use of traditional tools.
Spread among the festival grounds were other cultural experiences that people could get involved with including a Whale Tail Weaving Circle, a cultural display by the Bambarang Mens Group, a chill out and paint space. For those who stumbled across it - there was also the chance to tour Aunty Aileen's Yam Nursery wherein she taught the importance of yams in Yuin country.
Workshops for native plants and tool making were also hosted around the grounds, encouraging people to immerse themselves in an experience that deepened people's understanding and appreciation of the rich Aboriginal cultural heritage of the southeast region.
Spread amongst all of these activities was an array of art and cultural markets, along with food trucks that kept people replenished throughout the day.
In the later half of the day the Bunaan Ring played host to the most anticipated event of the festival, the Dhilwaan Yarrkural - the nightfall dance.
Here dancers from the Gumaraa, Djaadjawan, Gadhu, Duurunu Miru and Eden Students dance groups gathered, kicking up the deadliest performance of the day.
As the sun glistened through the gum trees, spears, tools and native branches were raised, as numerous feet began stomping the ground in ceremonial dance.
Onlookers seated around the Bunaan Ring, watched together in silent awe as they listened to the resounding sound of the didgeridoo and clapping sticks being played. Each dance was met with furious applause and dust clouds that blew across the crowd, which smiled broadly unbothered.
By nightfall the soulful music began to draw audiences back to the main stage where powerhouses Radical Son and Emma Donovan entranced their audiences and brought the festival to a close with their dynamic performances.
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