Building on the last 13 years previous experience and with the support of hundreds of community members Byron Harmony Day 2019 was an even bigger success than previously with the entire event being presented in Mullumbimby Civic Hall again this year – for the second year in a row.
The Byron Harmony Festival program took place on the 27 April 2019 and was an even more extraordinary and exciting program than ever with 11 hours of performances and workshops including many new and exciting acts such as French musician Bobby Paquet, an amazing opening ceremony by highly regarded elders Uncle Magpie and Uncle Lewis Walker plus fantastic Aboriginal dances by 38 member-strong “Bush Ballet” from Murwillumbah, Angola Capoeira, Aloha Hula as well as our new headlining acts Yoyo Tuki representing Rapa Nui Easter Island, Natty Dolaiasi direct from the Solomon Islands plus the Batala Project – Brazilian Women Drummers.
This year the program once again featured a very strong program of Japanese culture such as Sakura Classical Japanese dance (Gold Coast), Kizuna Taiko drums (Gold Coast) Wadaiko Sho young drummers(GC) and a Japanese Parade led by the Waggaki Band coordinated by Japanese coordinator Mayu Akiba.
This year, the Byron Harmony Festival attracted the participation of about 300 performers and food/market vendors from many different cultures such as African, Solomon Islands, Indigenous, Easter Island, Thai, Japanese, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, Hawaiian, Turkish, Indian, Brazillian, French performers, volunteers and workshop leaders and attracted an audience of approximately 2000 local community members.
The event was opened by traditional song man Uncle Magpie, Uncle Lewis Walker and the Bush Ballet Dancers plus local MP Tamara Smith. We are very honored to have such wonderful support from Uncle Magpie and Uncle Lewis Walker.
Many thanks to coordinators Judy Shelley, Fabrizio Calafuri, Mayu Akiba, Tracey Darsana and the kind assistance of Jess Gilmore and Belle Budden from Byron Council and Penny May from St Vinnies and all other volunteers in the Harmony Team for all their hard work. In the lead up to the Festival regular Friday meetings were held at Byron YAC to plan the event together. Many thanks to Byron Youth Service for use of office space for meetings and to the Mullumbimby Neighborhood Centre for their support and use of venue space.
Special thanks to Fabrizio Calafuri who successfully achieved a 2 year grant from Regional Arts NSW of $10,000 per year for coordination of the festival. This has been a fantastic support to Byron Harmony Festival. Many thanks also to Byron Council for providing a regular annual donation of $2000. Other sponsors include BayFM Community Radio, Kennards Hire, Vinnies and the Community Broadcasting Foundation who for the first time provided $2500 for a media tent/outside recording project involving BayFm Ethnic presenters Malikeh Michels, Yolanda Santiago and Yumiko Suzuki in undertaking live interviews and performances in the media tent which has now been edited down into a 2 part radio series.
Another very significant project of the Byron Harmony Team has been to sponsor and support the Solomon Islands Elder and Traditional Custodian Natty Dolaiasi to visit Australia to perform at Byron Harmony Day and other significant events such as the Kinship Festival, Festuri Festival, Moo Fest and others as well as participating in the BECOME project at Byron Multicultural during the one year period 2018-2019.
Many thanks to Solomon Airlines to provide a free air fare for Natty Dolaiasi to visit Australia for his East Coast Cultural Tour.
Many thanks also to Sebastian Sinclair for his ongoing support in designing and updating the web page : www.byronharmony.com and to Judy, Tracey Darsana, Mayu and others for work on the Byron Harmony Facebook page.