Volunteers needed for global festival
WHAT if you could take a trip to Mexico, Easter Island, Cameroon, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Italy, Malaysia and New Zealand all in one weekend, without leaving Dubbo?
The Spirit of the Planet Festival being held at the Dubbo Showground at the end of this month is offering Indigenous experiences from all of these countries, the likes of which Dubbo may have never seen.
The Rapa Nui Group (Easter Island), Aztec Group (Mexico City), Maasi Group (Kenya), Sarawak Group which includes the Long Ear Rings Ladies (Malaysia), Pygmy Group (Cameroon), and more will be here to “close the gap”.
“The Spirit of the Planet Festival is about closing the gap, promoting equality locally, nationally and internationally, and helping bring us closer together as one world and one spirit. Unity within community promotes trust, respect and positive relationships,” festival consultant Lewis Burns said.
Mr Burns has been attending the Spirit of the Planet Festival in Italy for a number of years and has taken performers from Dubbo to also attend.
“There, the festival runs for 17 days. They get 250,000 people coming through. We’re starting (the Dubbo festival) as big as we possibly can with three days, but we would like to see it grow,” he told Dubbo Photo News.
Thursday, November 29, and Friday morning, November 30, are reserved for school groups who will get a unique educational firsthand experience of indigenous people’s music, weapons, dance, song and crafts.
“The festival will showcase local and international indigenous culture and tradition, through song, dance, stories and art, highlighting the unique beliefs and ideas that connect us as a whole and create unity between and amongst us,” Mr Burns said.
An official opening ceremony will be held on Friday evening, November 30, while Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, will feature “The Awakening of the Senses”, which allows participants to experience world indigenous cultures without using sight.
There will also be a kids’ corner, a tribal village with tee-pees and other traditional dwellings from different tribes, plus static and live interactive displays.
The main stage will feature high energy performances as well as Q&A sessions with the groups.
Naturally the groups will get a very special welcome to country from Dubbo’s own Wiradjuri performers who are hosting their global indigenous friends for the first time.
“I attended the Spirit of the Planet in Italy as a didgeridoo player with a dance group years ago. After a few years, I started gathering up groups and taking them back over there,” Mr Burns said.
“We represented Aboriginal Australia in Aboriginal dance, arts, culture, and the ways, showing our tools. Three times in the last six years I’ve taken groups from Dubbo,” he said.
“We met 20 or 30 other groups from other countries and decided we want to start the same thing here. We’re starting as big as we can with the three days.”
For sponsorship, stall holder, volunteer and school excursion information, contact Arna Kerklaan on 0490 019 426, or visit the website www.thespiritoftheplanetdubboaustralia.com. z The Spirit of the Planet Festival
z Dubbo Showground
z Thursday, November 29: School student day, $5pp
z Friday, November 30, School student morning, $5pp
z Evening Opening Ceremony – Free
z Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2: Free entry. The Awakening of the Senses, Kids’ Corner, Tribal Village, Performances, market stalls, food, drinks and non-stop entertainment
Spirit of the Planet Festival committee members, left to right, Mel Moore, Sonia Oldfield, Kris Stevens (back), Lewis Burns and Arna Kerklaan.