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Edward Street Festival channels community spirit

On Sunday November 20, The Settlement celebrated its 130th Anniversary year by bringing back the famous Edward Street Festival. Also known as The Chippendale Festival, The Edward Street Festival started in the 1970s and ran for the next 20 years as a free and fun community celebration along Edward Street in Darlington and celebrated the local community, culture and talent.

After a 20-year break The Edward Street Festival was a day full of live music and cultural performances, food and market stalls, community workshops, an Elder’s lounge and a free kid’s zone with snow cones, a jumping castle, face painting, a petting zoo and arts and crafts.

Event attendees could take a walk down leafy Edward Street through market stalls run by local community members which showcased weaving, jewellery, First Nations art and apparel by local designers before arriving at the stage which was opened by a Smoking Ceremony by Nadeena Dixon, an Acknowledgement of Country by Aunty Ali Golding (life member of The Settlement) and a special performance by the Buuja Buuja Butterfly Dancers.

The Edward Street Festival programming by Last Minute Productions gave honour to the original Edward Street Festival and the artists and musicians who performed on its stage, including bringing back original performing artist Bart Willoughby of Mixed Relations who last performed at The Edward Street Festival in the early 1990s.

The Festival was emceed by DJ NAIAN, former Edward Street resident, performer and Koori Radio broadcaster and featured local hip hop sensation Kobie Dee as headliner. DJ Leo Tanoi, Koori Radio’s Black President, MC Trey, hip-hop pioneer and past coordinator at The Settlement, and loop master Harley Ruha also performed. The day was broadcasted live on Koori Radio.

For the creatives, a workshop tent hosted a children’s painting workshop by local resident and Aboriginal Artist Jude Jarrett as well as a Capoeira Angola workshop, an AfroBrazilian art form celebrating culture, history, tradition, language, song, rhythm, ritual and movement. The workshop tent also featured a performance devising workshop by Midnight Feast – an integrated arts company for artists with disabilities, who are currently in residency with the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

The Edward Street Festival also hosted a weaving workshop tent with contemporary Aboriginal Weaver Tegan Murdock, a Community-run DIY Bicycle Workshop tent by The Bicycle Garden and an all-day drop in acupressure tent by Acupuncture for Community where participants left feeling relaxed and refreshed in mind, body and spirit.

The Settlement looks forward to growing support in making The Edward Street Festival an annual event, connecting and bringing community together in celebration. Check out The Settlement’s website thesettlement.org.au and social media pages @thesettlementnc to stay updated.

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