Jungle Love Festival acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we live and work; in particular the kabi kabi peoples whose country is where our festival now stands. We understand that creativity and art have played and continues to play a very important role on these lands since time immemorial. Jungle Love Festival are committed to a long term journey working with Indigenous producers, artists and communities to continue to provide a platform for First Nations artists to tell their stories, their way. Jungle Love Festival is a place for inclusive innovation and experimentation and we offer this space to Indigenous practitioners to do the same.
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing space for First Nations producers and artists to carry out their work with agency, we have worked closely with both Digi Youth Arts and Alethea Beetson. Our work with Digi Youth Arts (DYA) continues our successful collaboration with the Indigenous youth arts organisation since 2015. Jungle Love Festival have worked closely with DYA Youth Artists so they could shape some of the Indigenous programming at the festival this year. Digi Youth Arts programming includes panel discussions, spoken word performances, an Indigenous market stall (in partnership with BlakLash projects) and a live mural. As our festival is a celebration of young people, it's incredibly important to us that the youngest generation of one of the oldest surviving cultures in a world has this important role. Although she is also Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts, Alethea Beetson has worked with Jungle Love Festival within the scope of her other work as a producer and curator of Indigenous arts. Our festival is a space for experimentation so we offered Alethea the opportunity to explore frameworks for Indigenous programming at a contemporary music festival. With an understanding of the issues surrounding siloing First Nations arts as well as the continued need to develop wider audiences for Indigenous content, Alethea was inspired by The Original People’s Party at APAM 2018 and has curated a BlakOut for Jungle Love Festival 2018. For one hour at the festival this year, Indigenous artists (only) will be featured across all stages and spaces. BlakOut programming has been a framework used by Indigenous practitioners for a very long time and Jungle Love Festival are excited to include this concept in this years festival. We understand, like all that we do in this space, these are the first steps in improving our approach to Indigenous programming. We hope to continue to give Indigenous producers and artists the freedom to experiment in future iterations of the festival.
We acknowledge that our commitment to working with Traditional Owners across all aspects of the event is also at its beginning stages. We will continue communicating pathways for this inclusion and are working closely with Alethea and Digi Youth Arts to improve processes for the 2018 festival and beyond. Both Digi Youth Arts and Jungle Love Festival are committed to being more present in the community during 2019. We have already committed to Indigenous programming next year as a major partner in Digi Youth Art’s long-term project where we stand. This project is a cross-community multi-arts project where Indigenous youth, alongside community leaders, make work in response to country and place.
This year Jungle Love Festival and Digi Youth Arts were recognised as a finalist for the 2018 Queensland Reconciliation Awards. The Indigenous Engagement and Programming Initiative co-produced by Digi Youth Arts and Jungle Love Festival gave its audience access to conversations with Indigenous youth which leads to a greater understanding of the true history of this country.This partnership demonstrated how reconciliation can be promoted and achieved in contemporary arts spaces. Through embedding Indigenous-led content within the festival program, the younger demographic were able to take the next steps towards reconciliation from an informed position. Although the festival was delighted to be recognised for our work in this space, we know we have a long way to go. Each year we will review our approach to Indigenous Engagement and Programming so that we can continue taking the steps required to improve how the ways we can put First Peoples first.