BOOMERANG AT BLUESFEST: Artist announcement plus playing schedule released

Thursday 24th – Monday 28th March, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay, NSW


Boomerang Festival, Northern NSW’s first global indigenous arts and culture festival is bringing the culture to Bluesfest big time in 2016, in one of Australia’s most exciting cultural collaborations, between Bluesfest Director Peter Noble and internationally revered arts curator and local Bundjalung woman, Rhoda Roberts.

On the lands of the Arakwal, of the Bundjalung Nation, The Boomerang Precinct, beside the Jambalaya Stage provides a safe, family-friendly program of arts and age-old culture and rituals, along with workshops and interactive experiences.  First Nations musicians are embedded in the Bluesfest program as they have always been.

We are delighted to reveal the second major announcement for the Boomerang Precinct 2016.

More names have been added to the rousing, diverse Talks & Ideas program – where brilliant minds from around the world will discuss important topics about culture, the environment, politics, food, medicine, love, life, death and everything in between.

Plus the Workshops program has now been announced, complete with fun & educational experiences for young children and adults alike! This interactive, live arts and cultural exchange generously shared by our local people will move and enlighten you with the cultural depth – and you even get the chance to walk away with your own creation!


                                                   TALKS & IDEAS



Frontline Change – A Climate Change discussion

CLARENCE SLOCKEE & CLAYTON DONOVONKeeping the natives green – Medicine, Plants & Foraging

JOE WILLIAMS: The Enemy Within


RICHARD FRANKLANDConversations with the Dead


TROY BRADY: Music & Chemo











Read more on your Boomerang artists:



Through a series of panel discussions and in conversations our talks and Ideas will cover a broad range of topics and current issues relating to first nations globally.


The Boat Debate: George Negus joins John Faunt and Tenzin Choeygal to discuss the very different perspectives of Australia’s position with refugees.

John Faunt

John Faunt is a music artist from Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Over the years John has been performing in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia with his band Hausboi and is an active Manus Garamut (slit log) drummer. John is now based in Brisbane, Australia and on the board of the Wantok Musik Foundation ( assisting their work with indigenous music and culture in the region.

John continues to follow his passion in preserving and showcasing his traditional Manus Island heritage through a new solo music album, whilst working on the ‘Lukautim Pasin Tumbuna’ or ‘Safeguard our Cultural Heritage’ project documenting and protecting sacred Manus traditional rhythms and dances from the effects of modernisation.

John is passionately driven to be a voice for his Manus people by giving a more balanced picture of the Island Province and portray its beauty, culture and people to the world.

George Negus

George Negus AM is one of Australia's best known media professionals, with a passion for international affairs and equipped with a well-honed perspective typical of someone with his enormous global experience as a journalist and traveller. 

He regularly facilitates group discussions for corporates and government which is not surprising given his professional need to always adapt to extremely varied environments culturally, politically and geographically during his decades of globetrotting.  

George has presented on 60 Minutes, ABC’s Foreign CorrespondentDateline, and The Project to name just a few, and is a best-selling author.


Frontline Change

A much needed discussion on the effect of Climate Change, rising waters and communities’ displacement. Featuring The Hon Tony Burke, Amelia Telford, Getano Bannand Letila MitchellConvened by George Negus.

The Hon Tony Burke, Member for Watson
Upon election to the Federal Parliament in 2004, Tony was placed immediately on the frontbench as Shadow Minister for Small Business and Shadow Minister for Immigration. In 2007 Tony was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. In September 2010, he was appointed Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities in the Gillard Labor Government. Mr. Burke has also served as The Minister for Environment, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Immigration.


Amelia Telford

Young environmentalist of the year 2015 and former school captain of Lismore High, Bundjalung woman Amelia set up Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, an organisation that supports Aboriginal people aged under 30 who want to participate in environmental debates. 

Seed has trained 50 youth representatives in public speaking and media and project management. They are now participating in important debates concerning the effects of sea-level rise on the Torres Strait, and in negotiations with Aboriginal landholders in Queensland regarding what could become the country's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin.


Letila Mitchell

From the Island of Rotuman Letila Mitchell is founder of the Pacific Arts Alliance Trustee and Current Secretary General. She is also the Director of the Fiji Arts Council. She is a visual and performing artist with 15 years’ experience, performing and working in the Pacific, London, New Zealand and Australia.

Letila has extensive networks in the trade, tourism and arts sector throughout the region. She is also the Artistic Director of Rako, a multidisciplinary arts project that focuses on contemporary Rotuman productions.

After graduation with a Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from the University of the South Pacific, she has had an extensive career in the arts as a performer, director and events manager, having worked with the Fu Helava Dance Troupe, Suva the International Olympic Committee and the Hibiscus Festival Committee.


The Enemy Within

Joe Williams

A Wiradjuri man, Joe Williams played in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional Boxing in 2009. Joe is a two-time WBF World Junior Welterweight champion, and recently won the WBC Asia Continental Title. Joe is currently working fulltime as the Aboriginal Education Worker at Mater Dei Catholic College.

Apart from being involved with professional sport for over 15 years, Joe now spends his time working to inspire youth and individuals through motivational speaking workshops. Joe has spent time working with disengaged youth in high schools and primary schools, drug & alcohol rehabilitation centres, and gaols, and has mentored both youth and adults. Privately, Joe has had his own battles, struggles and setbacks, which culminated in his own suicide attempt in 2011.


Conversations with the Dead

Richard Frankland

Richard Frankland is a renowned Gunditjmara leader, activist, film-maker, playwright, author, singer-songwriter and researcher/community educator. He has been a provider of a wide range of Indigenous and cross-cultural awareness lectures and workshops to community groups, business, government and educational institutions around Australia.

Richard was the first Indigenous Director to win an AFI award when he won Best Screenplay for his film No Way to Forget. The film was broadcast nationally and screened at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. He wrote and directed the feature film Harry’s War based on his uncle's role in WW11.


Clarence Slockee & Clayton Donovan: Keeping the natives green - Medicine, Plants and Foraging

Clarence Slockee

Clarence Slockee from the Mindjingbal clan of the Bundjalung, is a graduate from the National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College.  Clarence has gained experience across a broad range of performance mediums, but his passion remains with his farming roots and ensuring the biodiversity of native species.

He has worked for many years as the Education Co-coordinator in Aboriginal programs with Sydney Botanical Gardens and more recently managing cultural tourism at the Baranagroo Parklands.

With his regular segment on ABC TV Series, Gardening Australia he continues to educate many about the medicinal, cultural and edible plants you need to know about when foraging. 


Clayton Donovan

Clayton Donovan is Australia’s most acclaimed Indigenous Chef.

Growing up in Northern New South Wales, Clayton started learning about native produce when he was four years old, out walking with his Aunties and grandmothers, taking what they found in the bush or along the coastline and cooking it up at their homes.

In his developing years as a chef he developed his own style of cooking, learning using native ingredients in a restaurant environment. Integrating ingredients such as wattle seed, rosella and myrtles into Asian and European inspired dishes, he applied to work at the prestigious Watermark restaurant at Balmoral Beach, Sydney. Clayton was introduced to the secrets and gastronomic intricacies involved in creating and presenting dishes in first class, hatted restaurants, including in England, where he took sous chef and head chef positions in restaurants such as Fowey Hall and Boscundle Manor.

In 2008 Clayton returned to Australia and these days his focus is on pop up restaurants at events and special occasions all over Australia, he regularly has guest chef appearances at trade shows and events within Australia and other parts of the world.

Clayton continues to source ingredients from the bush, foraging to introduce new and exciting flavours to his menus. He received a chef’s hat from the Australian Good Food Guide in 2011. His international experience with his understanding of Australian native foods to produce a unique and contemporary cuisine with an Indigenous twist is highly regarded by publishers and food editors.

Clayton Donovan reached a new level as writer and presenter on Australian Television - ABC TV program Wild Kitchen.  The series was aired all over the world on Virgin aircrafts, rail networks and popular on-line channels.


Music and Chemo with Troy Brady

Troy Brady

Troy Brady is living with Lupus, and it is not easy. This Kuku Yalanji man and musician has modeled ways for music to be his long-term therapy in combination with Chemo.  Troy was a member of the award-winning  group Banawarun (‘Running Water’). Their music was described as "Outback Motown”. They played in the USA in 2006, performing in Los Angeles' infamous Viper Room. They won a Deadly Award in 2007 for Band of the Year.  Troy has fronted several bands including AIM 4 More.


In Conversation with Archie Roach

Nancy Bates

Nancy Bates is a Barkindji woman from Far Western New South Wales who is fast becoming part of the national Aboriginal music community having completed a season as a member of Archie Roach's 'Into the Bloodstream Gospel Choir'. 

Nancy has received wide exposure in 2013 with her track ‘Old Black Woman’ and award nods include a Top 10 Placement in the APRA Indigenous Songwriters Category.

Nancy’s performances have included Melbourne Festival, Perth Festival, Adelaide Festival, Darwin Festival, Deadly Awards, SA NAIDOC Ball, Reconciliation Annual Breakfast Event, Taoundi College 40th Year Celebration, Spirit Festival, Adelaide Fringe (Garden of Unearthly Delights).


Craig Pilkington

Craig Pilkington is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and founding member of ARIA award winning band The Killjoys. He holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons.) from the Conservatorium Melbourne University, and owns and operates Audrey Studios. As a composer and producer/engineer his albums have received multiple ARIA awards and nominations.  

He has had many TV song placements including, Home and Away, Neighbours, and the Secret Life Of Us. As an arranger Craig has penned string and other orchestral arrangements for artists such as the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, The Lucksmiths, Sea stories, Saltwater Band, Barb Waters and Nicola Watson. 

As a producer/engineer Craig is experienced in most music genres and some of his clients include: Even, Liz Stringer, Archie Roach, Neil Murray, Tripod, the Scared Weird Little Guys, the Black Eyed Susans, Madison Avenue, Ruby Hunter, and Gurrumul Yunipingu.



“You have an instant connection to country when you weave, as you are using local flora hearing age old stories and reflecting. Weaving is an important cultural practice for both men and women. Intricately woven fibre baskets were traditionally highly prized for their practicality, and today treasured for their aesthetic excellence. Participants will learn the basic technique of varying styles from coiling to matting, while developing an understanding of cultural importance of weaving and fishing techniques used by the Aboriginal community in this region” – Rhoda Roberts

Weave a bracelet, basket, mat, and or a simple net to catch fish!

Weavers featured: Rosie Pearson, Lauren Jarret, Gwen Hickling, Tammy Kapeen, Tanya Marlow and local women of the Bundjalung region.

Open to all ages. Relax and observe, or and join the weaving circles.


Sonja Carmichael Recycles Marine Waste/Making Turtles workshop

Ngugi woman form Stradbroke Island, Sonja gathers Un-gaire (swamp reeds) and grass fibres as well as nets, ropes, plastics and other materials such as marine debris that have been discarded into the ocean and found washed up on the beautiful shores of Minjerribah.

With these materials, she utilises traditional weaving techniques, creating hand woven baskets and showing kids how to make turtles. Collecting the debris, her works directly respond to current environmental concerns regarding the preservation of the natural environment by transforming the discarded materials into functional and contemporary artworks.



Delvene Cockatoo Collins: Seeds, Ceramics and Jewellery making

A Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul woman of Quandamooka Country, Delvene Cockatoo Collins’ arts practice includes textiles, ceramics and jewellery making.

The stories shared through these mediums are those of her family's lived experiences on Minjerribah, the natural environment and her responses to representations of images and objects of Quandamooka. For jewellery making workshops, Delvene provides her handcrafted ceramic beads and collected natural items including seeds. At the Boomerang Festival jewellery making workshops, Delvene will be joined by her mother and sister.



Dhinawan Dance & Cultural Workshops

From the Gamillaroi Bigambul peoples, AKA Mick Baker, is known for his spontaneous, straight-from-the-heart cultural commentary.  Founder and front man of Dhinawan Dreaming, the Byron Bay-based entertainer uses the mediums of dance, song and storytelling to promote cultural awareness and understanding in a humorous, insightful and thought-provoking way.

When not spearheading anti-bullying programs in primary schools and painting boards for pro surfer Kelly Slater, Dhinawan travels regularly overseas to perform in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scotland, and Italy.




RAKO DANCERS - Rotuman, Fijian and Pacific Islands

JANNAWI DANCERS – Darug, NSW/Arnhem Land, NT

EXCELSIOR – North & Central Queensland






ARCHIE ROACH – Gundijtmara/ Bundjalung: ‘25 years of Charcoal Lane’

TENZIN CHOEGYAL – Tibet: ‘Music making of the displaced’

GETANO BANN – Torres Strait: ‘Issues affecting island communities’

SHARI SEBBENS (Darwin) & NAKKIAH LUI (Torres Strait): ‘The New Black Voice’




Find out more & view playing schedule at

Purchase tickets at

Contribute to the crowd funding campaign:


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