Yarrabah Band Festival 2016

@JCU Yarrabah Band Festival 2016

Indie rising star Montaigne joins living legend Archie Roach for the Yarrabah Band Festival 2016


The community of Yarrabah on Far North Queensland’s beautiful coastline will come alive with some of Australia’s hottest musical talent when Queensland Music Festival returns to present Yarrabah Band Festival at Bishop Malcolm Park on Saturday 5 November 2016.

The festival was founded by Queensland Music Festival in 2013 to revive the Yarrabah Brass Band, which was first formed more than a century ago, and to establish an event that would showcase visiting musicians and provide a platform for local artists to welcome visitors to the community.

Now in its fourth year, the 2016 festival returns bigger than ever, with a red-hot line up including Triple J sweetheart Montaigne (Jessica Cerro) and Australian music icon Archie Roach headlining on Saturday.

21-year old Montaigne burst onto the music scene during Triple J’s Unearthed competition in 2012. Since then she has graduated high school, released an album Glorious Heights, and had a single in the ARIA charts.

Performing at Yarrabah Band Festival for the first time in 2016, Roach’s illustrious career includes an ARIA award for his debut album Charcoal Lane in 1990, and his single Took The Children Away became the first song to win an International Human Rights Award. Over the years Roach has been a mentor for young indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, and was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015 for his services to music and social justice. He will release his tenth studio album Let Love Rule on 23 September, this album looks at the themes of love and the willingness to love all people.

This year’s festival will also host a local bands night on Friday 4 November. The bands performing will range from emerging artists to established local acts, and one talented group will be selected by Queensland Music Festival Artistic Director Katie Noonan to perform as a support act in Saturday’s main event.

Yarrabah Band Festival’s popularity has grown rapidly over the years expanding from a Saturday concert to providing workshops and performance opportunities for primary and secondary school students.

Earlier this year Queensland Music Festival kicked off its Yarrabah State School Musicians in Residence Program which saw indigenous singer-songwriters Shellie Morris and Merindi Schreiber, and Cairns-based rapper Dizzy Doolan spend two weeks in June working with students from Yarrabah State School and Yarrabah High School to develop and practice material for this year’s festival. 

In the week leading up to the concert, Shellie Morris, Merindi Schreiber and Dizzy Doolan will be joined by Torres Strait Island’s multi-instrumentalist and producer Will Kepa and singer-songwriter Deline Briscoe to continue working with primary and secondary school students to prepare them for several exciting performances in Saturday’s concert.

Queensland Music Festival Artistic Director Katie Noonan said she is excited about her first Yarrabah Band Festival.

“Queensland Music Festival is passionate about transforming lives of all Queenslanders through music, and we are very proud of the work we have been doing with Yarrabah and the surrounding communities,” said Noonan.

“If one person is inspired to follow their passion for music from this year’s festival, then that would be amazing.

“We have a stunning lineup of artists involved in this year’s festival, and combined with the incredible hot-bed of local talent, this year’s festival is set to be an unmissable event in Yarrabah.

“We encourage Cairns residents and other people living within driving distance to jump in the car, bring a blanket or cushion and experience all this wonderful community has to offer, and of course enjoy beautiful music by the sea.”

Yarrabah Band Festival 2016 commences at 5.30pm on Saturday 5 November, and is an all ages, alcohol-free event.

For details of the local band event on Friday 4 November visit qmf.org.au.

Yarrabah Band Festival is presented by Queensland Music Festival, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council and Tourism and Events Queensland, and is proudly supported by Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Bryan Family Foundation, Seymour Whyte, Hutchinson Builders, Festivals Australia, Australia Council for the Arts, Frazer Family Foundation, Gindaja Healing and Treatment Corporation and Bumma Bippera Media 98.7FM.

Performance Details

Date:    Saturday 5 November

Venue:  Bishop Malcolm Park, Yarrabah (45-minute drive from Cairns)


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Queensland Music Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government and state-wide celebration of music with a vision to transform lives and communities through music.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts' Festivals Australia program and through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.  

The Queensland Government is proud to support the Yarrabah Band Festival through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, showcasing Australia’s best live events in Australia’s best destinations. The Yarrabah Artist in Residence program is supported by the Frazer Family Foundation.