New cultural festival and artist residencies celebrate Bourke’s creative scene

ACE (Arts & Cultural Exchange) and Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (BACHS) are partnering to launch three artist residencies (23 – 27 May) and the inaugural MAYI Festival (28 May) in Bourke, NSW as part of a new community wellbeing and arts engagement program.

From a week of intensive skills development workshops for youth facilitated by the initiative’s artists in residency to an electrifying large-scale music festival headlined by some of Australia’s pre-eminent musicians, the partnership will  shine a spotlight on Bourke’s community and burgeoning creative scene.

“This partnership between ACE and Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service is so exciting. The Bourke community is overflowing with creatives and artists and this collaboration is a chance for Parramatta and Bourke to connect in new and innovative ways,” said Anne Loxley, Executive Director, ACE.

“Cultural Leaders from the 26 language groups across Bourke and surrounds, local businesses, community health and wellbeing services, regional arts initiatives and a lineup of First Nations musicians, all coming together to focus on community, wellbeing and celebrating Far West NSW.”

“We look forward to an unforgettable celebration of the Bourke community, a spark for continued positive community engagement and artistic output and, most importantly, a call to Heal Country and community,” said Loxley.

The initiative is led by the Bourke community and will bring together Elders, cultural and spiritual leaders of the 26 First Nations language groups from the region, as well as local artists and community groups.

Bourke Artist Residency:
ACE has developed an artist residency program to bring together Western Sydney artists with the young creatives of the Bourke Community. From 23 – 27 May, three artists will deliver free creative development workshops for the young people of the Bourke LGA.

Commencing on Monday 23 May, the workshops will be led by artist-facilitators from a range of disciplines including music production, live sound engineering, photography and videography. Artists in residence include:

Austin Benjamin is a music producer and label manager based in Sydney, his label TRACKWORK works with the likes of Snoee Badman, T-Breezy and Walkerboy.

Dakota Feirer is a storyteller, researcher, poet and advocate for healing country and community through art and storytelling, his work spans formats and forms.

Dayvis Heyne is a photo-journalist and independent photographer who has a knack for capturing enduring images that celebrate youth cultures in all their diversity.

Shannon O’Riley is a Sydney based Audio-Engineer and co-founder of the Western Sydney based live music initiative House Warming Collective. Shannon has worked with artists including Halsey (USA), Blacklisted (USA), Nails (USA), Confession, Deez Nuts, Wreath, Cursed Earth, Kublai Khan (USA), Tigers Jaw (USA), The Presets, Camp Cope and many more.

MAYI Festival:
The artist residency will conclude with a community-wide celebration in the form of MAYI Festival on Saturday 28 May.

The one-day arts, culture and music event will feature spiritual and cultural leaders from the 26 language groups from Bourke and surrounds, live performances from local and national bands, arts organisations, community services and local businesses.

Headlining performers include: Malyangapa Barkindji rapper and winner of FBi’s 2020 SMAC Awards for the ‘Next Big Thing’ Barkaa; Gomeroi hip hop star Kobie Dee; and Minjungbal/Gudjinburra rapper and Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year JK-47.

The event will also feature local talent including: The Voice AU 2022 featured band Castlereagh Connection; local act Bell River Band; with more to be announced.

A partnership between BACHS and ACE, the Festival brings together other service providers, organisations, community groups and critical individual community members to help rebuild safety and connection by spreading community awareness about key BACHS services.

Additionally, BACHS has partnered with the Deadly Blues/Maroons public health campaign to bring trailblazing campaign ambassadors and NRL players to the Festival to help improve community health outcomes through education.

MAYI Festival is a collaboration between Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service for Healing Country and Community and ACE. MAYI Festival is funded and supported by the Department of Health (cth) and the Biennale of Sydney to provide the Bourke Community with a day of harmony and promote BACHS services in health care – building trust & engagement.

MAYI Festival Artist Residency is delivered in partnership with Arts & Cultural Exchange. The MAYI Festival Artist Residency is made possible by the support of the Crown Resorts Foundation and The Packer Family Foundation. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: ShannonO’Riley is an Artist in Residence as part of the MAYI Festival in Bourke (supplied)