On Friday the 20th of February, category 4 Cyclone Lam ripped over the Arnhem Land coastline, where a community of 3000 people experienced wind gusts of up to 230kph. Damaging hundreds of homes and displacing many more people, the community of Galiwin’ku was lucky to escape the experience with no fatalities or severe injuries.
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The clean up began, but was not completed before the wind gusts of category 3 Cyclone Nathan battered the community again, just over a month later. The tent city had to be taken down and when the cyclone had moved on, the community once again faced the daunting task of cleaning up the mess. Not surprisingly, morale is low.
Every year, the Galiwin’ku community presents the Healthy Lifestyle Festival. This is a celebratory event, supported by a small number of community associations. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and educates the community about achieving healthier ways of living within the framework of the community’s unique culture.
This year The Healthy Lifestyle Festival is being held from July 13th to 18th. The Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation wants to mark the community’s survival of two cyclones with a ‘Recovery Concert’ and it makes sense to have this at the same time as the Healthy Lifestyle Festival. Not only will this concert showcase the community’s many amazing musical talents (including Gurrumul), it will bring everyone together to celebrate, to forget recent traumatic events and give themselves over to music, dance and celebration.
The Healthy Lifestyle Festival is a low-key event and is being sponsored by the Northern Territory Government and community organisations. However this support will not cover the costs associated with the ‘Recovery Concert’. Galiwin’ku is located on beautiful but remote Elcho Island, 512 km from Darwin. To stage a quality concert, the Foundation needs to hire a PA and have it freighted by barge to Elcho Island. A staging crew will also need to be hired and flown to Elcho Island. Then there are the costs associated with the travel and living costs for a headline artist to travel from Melbourne / Sydney to be a part of the concert.
Elcho Island is home to many amazing musicians, who will give their time free for this event but they do require logistical support. Skinnyfish Music who has pledged its support to help coordinate the equipment, infrastructure and personnel for the concert will provide much of this. It’s a pretty safe time of the year to stage an event of this type, cyclones being rare in June. However if the worst should happen Skinnyfish Music has what it takes to handle the logistics.
If you are staging a community event, particularly a remote community event, it is prudent to budget for contingencies. However when applying for funding for the Healthy Lifestyle Festival nobody could have imagined that a contingency of this magnitude would be needed.
So, the Foundation is chasing $15,000 to stage the Recovery Concert as a dynamic event within the Healthy Lifestyle Festival. Music is a lifeline and often used following traumatic events to improve emotional health and well-being and lift morale.
Help us deliver an event to the community of Galiwin’ku that will blow them away, to a magnitude that challenges the winds of Cyclone Lam and Cyclone Nathan.
You can donate here.