The Bakbididi festival saw a blast from the past. One of Ramingining most senior bands 'Dupal' performed a short set for the first time in more than five years. 

The Dupal band consists of no less than four senior cultural leaders and two emerging leaders. To see the festival be a mechanism to bring these senior leaders together was a real highlight. We recently caught up with Peter Gumbung Gaykamangu to reflect on the festival.

Peter, Why did the band decide to get together again for the festival?

-         It has been a challenging year in Ramingining. We have lost many senior cultural leaders. There has been a lot of worry about COVID-19, we just thought it would be
 an excellent opportunity to get up and have some fun while showing the rest of the community that if we can celebrate the festival, everyone should enjoy themselves.

How long have you been performing together?

-         On and off for nearly 30 years. We used to travel to Burranga festival and many other community festivals, but now we are often too busy overseeing cultural events. We want to perform more. We are just making sure that our community and our families have all the support they need. 

What does it mean to be a leader in your community?

-         For me, being a strong Yolŋu leader isn't about being the loudest voice at the 'table'. It is about being the most considerate and respectful person. We need to lead from the front. I am not perfect, but I can acknowledge that and work on myself while supporting my extended family.

What would you like to see at the festival next year?

-         I would like to see more Yolŋu cultural activities and more women's bands. One of my daughters knows how to sing and plays the keyboard. I want to perform with her!

We thank all of the community leaders that we work with, particularly during these significant community events. In the week leading up to the Bakbidi'di festival, there was a death in the community. We needed to consult with several family groups seeking advice and permission for the festival. We must value these relationships as they are the cornerstone of our operations in the communities that we serve.