2021 AGM President’s Report

Tablelands Folk Festival

Firstly, I need to thank everyone for their patience, co-operation and hard work that was required to facilitate a music festival in a Covid-l9 year. They say hindsight has 2020 vision and last year was no exception. I thank everyone who shared the vision for a music festival regardless of the restrictions imposed and with the possibility of a totally locked-down ZOOM style festival.

Examples of ideas mooted were the possibility of drive-in theatre style concerts where the audience stayed in or near their car, numerous individual concerts held across the whole of the Tablelands over a 2 week period, etc.. All ideas coming from an extremely capable and committed festival team.

Special thanks to Bronwyn for committing to a Queensland Artists Event with emphasis on locals. What exceptional talent we have at our doorstep.

Special mention also to the rest of the Festival Committee. Such dedication is quite humbling, and l cannot thank you all enough. Steve, Sarah, Martin, Jeff Michael, Jenni, Cathie, Laurette, Uncle Laurie, Aunty Helen, Brett, Marie, Maria, lan, Phil, Heather, Andy, Nadine, the staff at the Yungaburra Hotel who continued their support and co-operation under their own stressful situation, musicians and artists who gave of themselves, volunteers, local Police and the local health department.  l’m up to ball boys and referees, so l’ll stop here.

This festival would not exist without you all equally, and if you need assurance just look at what we achieved in 2020. At no stage did we give-in and cancel the event. We provided a fantastic festival to our visitors and the community of Yungaburra. We were prepared to make an overall loss to ensure we did not go without but instead we made a surplus.

This year we will be able (hopefully) to have our Children’s Festival and our Health and Wellness participation. This coming Year is the Year of lndigenous Tourism and we are hoping to progress and expand on our initial work in 2019 with the introduction of local language through our elder Janggaburru. For those unfamiliar with our 2019 project which achieved national acclaim and is a direct link to future First Nations tourism, l’ll explain.

Janggaburru is a 4m+ high, elder of the Dulgubarra Yidinji and was featured on an ABC documentary filmed throughout the 20L9 Festival.

The Elder (Janggaburru) has comeback to Yungaburra after many decades and has found the area so transformed he no longer knows his way around.

Uncle Laurie helped Janggaburru to reorient himself by evoking the traditional names of the land and of its features. While at it they took the opportunity to also help local people discover a layer of knowledge of the area that overlaps onto current denomination used by the colonising culture.

Janggaburru partook in sessions of language teaching at the Festival, including a workshop for the creation of Street Signage in language and eventually the Elders, with a group of assistants, installed the newly made signs around the festival perimeter. The signs indicated directions for locations significant to the traditional local culture as well as translated some of the existing names into language when possible (when the name exists, ie: ‘Marrgan Street’ for ‘Maple Street’).

After the Festival we were approached by Main Roads to investigate and pursue the possibility of permanent signs to co-exist with the current signs.  This year being the Year of lndigenous Tourism is  now a prime opportunity to fulfill that dreaming.

Michael Hodgkins