The Victorian Government is putting together a star-studded virtual concert to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture following the postponement of NAIDOC Week. The Government is investing $150,000 to hold the virtual concert, with support from the Victorian Aboriginal community and the arts sector, including Arts Centre Melbourne.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams announced a variety performance event will be live streamed on Saturday – what would have been the penultimate day of the landmark week-long celebration. “There’s no doubt this has been a tough year, with bushfires and coronavirus taking their toll on Aboriginal communities,” said Minister Williams.
“NAIDOC Week may be postponed, but we’re still taking the opportunity to maintain community connections and celebrate Aboriginal culture. The event will be more than just good fun – it’s a chance to highlight the talented performers right across the country and provide a lifeline to the struggling arts industry.”
Hosted by comedians Shiralee Hood and Dion Williams, Always Was, Always Will Be will feature artists including Uncle Archie Roach AM, Uncle Kutcha Edwards, Troy Cassar-Daley, Alice Skye, Djirri Djirri, Lady Lash, Scott Darlow, Mau Power, Allara, One Fire Aboriginal Dance Company, Brent Watkins, Jason Tamiru and Jesse Rotumah-Gardiner – with messages from Elders N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Aunty Alice Kolasa, Aunty Pam Pederson and Uncle Shane Clarke
NAIDOC Week was scheduled to be held from 5 to 12 July this year, but for the first time in its 64-year history, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is traditionally marked each July to honour and pay tribute to Aboriginal culture, history and achievement, with celebrations held across the country. It is now expected to be scheduled in November.
Always Was, Always Will Be will be held at Hamer Hall and while closed to the public, Victorians can live stream the performance on Saturday 11 July from 6.30pm AEST. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au and www.together.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Uncle Archie Roach AM – photo by Adrian Cook