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Yirramboi Festival 2019

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Melbourne's Premier Biennial First Peoples Festival
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Images - Yirramboi Fest 2019

YIRRAMBOI means tomorrow in the shared languages of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nations Melbourne, Australia. You're invited to take part in Melbourne's premier biennial First People's Festival running from 2-12 May 2019 at various venues, dates and times. Celebrating over two thousand generations of continuous cultural practice, share and celebrate the proud history and passion of dynamic living cultures.

Big acts, bold ideas and one unforgettable party! Get the 2019 Festival Program HERE. You can also check out the Calendar Listing for a bird's eye view of event dates in order, and the List of Venues involved. There are a host of freebie events where you can turn up on the day. However, take note that some freebie events require you to make bookings in advance for reasons such as limited seating etcetera. Get the FAQs here.


There's something for everyone, with exciting, free and low-cost events across music, dance, theatre, film, exhibitions, markets, fashion parades, family-friendly events, talks and symposiums at more than 25 venues. With Creative Director Caroline Martin (Boonwurrung) at the helm, the 2019 Festival presents 100 events that celebrate and demonstrate innovative, modern practices of First Nations creatives, showcasing unique talents and perspectives.

Unfortunately the magical FREE opening ceremony at the Meat Market is all sold out and filled to capacity as are other events like Benny Walker; Alice Skye X Llid Kaolo; VACL Symposium - Our Mother Tongue; Miss First Nation - Departure Lounge Drag Queen Bingo; First Nations Dance and Music Workshop; and Black Ties Creative Development Showing, thus far! It's a precautionary note to get in quick for tickets you don't want to miss out on.

Day 1 kicks off with other wonderful exhibitions and events like It's Called Survival. An exhibition by Charlotte Allingham, a 25 year old proud Wiradjuri woman from NSW, who shot to internet fame in 2018 when one of her illustrations became a symbol of the growing unease about celebrating 26 Jan as Australia Day. This FREE exhibition runs throughout the event from 6 to 10pm at Screens, SIGNAL, Northbank, Flinders Walk.


Writing on the Wall is another FREE exhibition that runs till Sun 19 May at Black Dot Gallery, 33 Saxon St, Brunswick. It raises awareness and enters the hot topic of the threat of extinction of First Nation languages. Join this exhibition for Opening Night on Fri 3 May 6-8pm as it begins with a Welcome to Country by the Djirri Djirri Dancers, followed by special guest performances. You can also head to The Little Library, a FREE event at Melbourne Central, filled with language books from the Kulin Nations.

Blak Market for the foodies, fashionistas and market lovers is on 5 May at 10am and runs for 6 hrs. Showcasing 20 first Nations-owned businesses, it includes bush foods as well. You can also have a dedicated Bush Food Experience on 5 & 11 May, which runs for 90 mins. Why not sign up for Weaving Workshops and chill to acoustic vibes! On the same day as the Blak Market, from 11.45am, the YIRRAMBOI Weelam Festival hub will have a Sunday Jam Session of music by celebrated First Nations singer-songwriters.


Dan Sultan needs no introduction. This ARIA award-winning alternative rock legend is performing exclusive songs for the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ. He'll be supported by outstanding performers Alice Skye and Kalaji. While Dan is ticketed, Blak Sound is FREE, and showcases emerging First Nations Voices of Now. Five incredible new artists will perform across an evening of music.

This is but a small snippet of offerings in regards to shows. There's so much more than you could possibly cover. From a laneway art workshop, Drag workshop, to tea with Elders, there are a few Miss First Nation events that cover Best National Costume & Miss Talent; lip sync superstar; and the pièce de résistance, Miss First Nation Grand Final & Closing Night Party.

Making its Melbourne debut, the world-famous Miss First Nation is a talent-based pageant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drag entertainers. It's huge on originality and authenticity. This closing night party is going to be a night of spectacular costumes and dazzling glamour, with special guest judge and performer and a huge surprise in store with an appearance from one of Australia's biggest First Nations music acts.

Check the program for all other acts and start booking, For updates, follow the Facebook page, where you'll also find individual events listed. With so many exciting performances, you would not want to miss all that's on offer.

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Why? Yirramboi Festival 2019
When: 2-12 May 2019
Where: Various Venues, Melbourne, VIC
Cost: Various costs and FREE events
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