Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 08, 2023


Adelaide Fringe Festival, Indigenous Performers

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:01): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please inform the council about some of the First Nations artists performing at this year's Fringe Festival?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for his important question and his interest in all things artistic and also in Aboriginal affairs and the achievements of Aboriginal people in South Australia. The Fringe is certainly an exciting time for many South Australians, and is not only an opportunity to see some of the best performers from right across the world share their skills and talents but also an opportunity for our local performers to have a platform to do so as well. It's with great pleasure that in years gone by I have seen some exceptionally good Fringe performances from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during Fringe season in Adelaide.

The acts involved in this year's Fringe from First Nations performers range from film, digital, comedy, interactive storytelling, visual arts and design, cabaret, theatre and music. A few of the acts of particular note to highlight are the Garden Sessions, in which a curated musical program features emerging First Nations talents, including Katie Aspel, Vonda Last, Tilly Thomas, Bec Gollan and Hannah Yates. This event is on from 25 February to 18 March in the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Yarnin Pangari (Talking Spirit) is a festival led by Uncle Moogy Sumner and centred around the sharing of culture and healing the spirit, where people can participate in cultural workshops including dancing, weaving, painting, wood carving and boomerang and spear throwing, and sit with and listen to storytelling and yarning in circles with elders. This particular event is on 18 March at the main oval and pavilion in Belair National Park.

First Nations Voices is an opportunity to see some of Australia's leading First Nations musicians: Glenn Skuthorpe, Nancy Bates and Getano Bann, amongst others. It's an event that is an expression of cultural stories and life through the infusion of urban street blues and rock and is held at Sinclair's Gully Winery and Eliza Hall.

Unfortunately, one of the things that I was particularly keen to see but couldn't make this year, as I was unable to make last year, was the drone performance to music. This year, Electric Skies was held on 24 and 25 February. I'm told it was an extraordinary success that thousands of people enjoyed. Electric Skies is a multisensory light and sound experience that launched 500 drones over 100 metres into the sky and featured music specially made from Electric Fields duo Michael Ross and Zaachariaha Fielding from Mimili in the APY lands.

Many of Zaachariaha's paintings informed the inspiring drone animations in the sky. There was a similar event that was unable to be held in the city but was in McLaren Vale during last year's Fringe that the whole of my family attended—including my brothers and all of my cousins—which happened to be on the Friday before the last state election, which ruled me out from attending. I am sure that one day I will get to the drone performances which, by all accounts, are an amazing performance and I hope continue into next year's Fringe.

I commend many of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performances, acts, music, sharing of culture, storytelling and yarning that are occurring during the Fringe and congratulate each and every one of them.