Just come back from the Festival Overture in Kings Park. The ceremony opened with an elder welcome, traditional women’s and men’s dances, spirits on stilts (very exciting moment when one fell over!) and the burning of the grass tree and banksia.
Then after a response from the new Governor Dr Ken Michael – who impressed us by his moorditj command of the Noongar language – the overture proper began.
It was a glorious setting, on the banks of the Pioneer Woman memorial park with the freeway lights twinkling through the leaves of the gum trees. We saw some exciting modern Aboriginal dance, listened to some sublime singing from Emma Donovan, and watched the unveiling of an enormous canvas.
The smoke from the burning of the trees created a great atmosphere and the ash from the grass tree floated down like snow as we sat in the warm darkness. I loved it.
Mostly I loved the feeling of being part of an event bigger than myself. Being part of a community, sitting there experiencing it altogether was lovely. Even Groover who, it must be said, came along somewhat reluctantly, enjoyed himself.
Not as much as the two year old boy we saw who gave the dancers a run for their money – he was a true little groover.
Roll on Festival 2006!