“WE WANT TO do our own festival, to build unity, a little happiness, make ourselves strong,” was the word from the Umbakumba community.
And so they did.
The Umbakumba Mini Festival in October was a weekend of celebration and community spirit, attracting about 500 people to the Umbakumba Cultural Centre on Friday and another 700 on Saturday.
The festival was a testament to outstanding traditional culture and the power of collaboration. It was a massive success at only a small financial cost, largely funded by the ALC, with GEAT providing buses and ferries for Bickerton Island families, Bush Fit Mob and East Arnhem Regional Council running the sports, Aminjarrinja working with municipal works (EARC) and GEBIE (CDP) and Power and Water (ESO) providing machinery and man power.
“The many barbecue volunteers were awesome,” says one of the organisers, Percy Bishop, from the ALC’s Radio Umbakumba 106.3FM.
“And we hired Groote Eylandt’s Tongan community who put on a massive feed mixed with seafood caught during the week by Umbakumba families.”
Entertainment was by Umbakumba’s uplifting and thrilling Salt Lake Band and Angurugu’s soulful Eylandt Band, led by the moving voice of young singer, Ramson Lalara. They were joined by the charming rock soul sounds of Ngukkur’s T-Lynx, Numbulwar’s stand out Mambali Band, and that beautiful spiritual sound of Yilila Band, also from Numbulwar, led effortlessly and beautifully by the powerful voice of Grant Nundhirribala.
The festival was also an opportunity to experience the programs that form the ALC’s cultural centre in Umbakumba.
The centre, along with the new cultural centres at Angurugu and Milyakburra house the ALC’s art, media, music and language programs, as well as radio stations and men’s sheds with strong links to sport and recreation.
The opening of the cultural centres sees the realisation of a major goal of the ALCs 15-year Strategic Plan, which was developed over 18 months and released in 2012 after extensive community input.