Gatjirrk Festival  an online celebration of Yolngu culture, song, and dance

ALPA has proudly sponsored the Raminigining Bak'bididi festival and the Milingimbi Gattjirrk Festival for many years. This year with the onset of the Covid pandemic, we could not hold large live concerts. We spoke with senior Yolngu leaders and ARDS/Yolngu Radio to explore online film projects and we decided to create an online festival to celebrate and support local musicians, artists, and dancers. The end result included two amazing one-hour films that featured video clips of leading bands, traditional bungul performances, and interviews with senior artists.

The two films were released during NAIDOC week with the assistance of NITV and this was screened at Federation Square in Melbourne. The Yolngu Radio film crew spent a week in each community to rehearse and film the featured artists. The project employed over 60 Yolngu artists and crew and also 8 trainees (4 at each community) to assist and train with the production crew. The festivals delivered great participation and local employment. The final films were stunning.

We would like to thank ARDS and Yolngu Radio for their high-quality engagement with the community. Sponsorship was also provided by East Arnhem Regional Council, Developing East Arnhem Land, Federation Square Trust, Miwatj Health, and ALPA's CDP team and benevolent funds. The project has left a great legacy of quality training of local Yolngu, great Aboriginal employment, cultural regeneration, and wonderful films that will bring great pride to families and the community.