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First Peoples First Festival 2024

St Kilda Festival is known as Australia’s largest community festival – a celebration of community spirit, Australian talent, and the beautiful St Kilda foreshore.

Since the first St Kilda Festival in 1980, this well-loved annual summer celebration has established itself as an iconic event that brings the community together.

In 2023 they introduced a new two-day format, which was a huge success in its inaugural year, attracting more than 375,000 live music lovers over the fun-filled weekend.

Day One of this 2024 event saw incredible artists, big crowds, and summer celebrations.

DAY 1 was dedicated to First Peoples Festival Day, with a music line up showcasing established and emerging artists from the main stage on the St Kilda beach foreshore, as well as a day of family friendly activities in O’Donnell Gardens.

This was the 44th edition of St Kilda Festival – celebrating 44 years of FREE Australian live music and St Kilda community spirit. MC for the Day was Kiwat Kennell who did an outstanding job of keeping the vibe and energy high for the day. This man worked the stage, introducing artists and bands to an audience ready to make some noise...and they did.

The crowds showed up the weather was warm and inviting, plus the artists were outstanding and empowering for all who bore witness to their performances on the day. As stated, Day One was dedicated to, First Peoples First…community showed up in force to show their support for artists, musicians and mob.

So lets look at the lineup on the day:


The Singing Our Futures program was established by the Archie Roach Foundation in collaboration with Culture is Life. It has evolved from the rich legacy left behind by Uncle Archie Roach, a legacy centred around the art of storytelling and truth-telling through music, as well as his dedication to nurturing and creating significant opportunities for young emerging First Nations artists.


Gudjingburra artist, Birren, has a deep love for music that started at a young age. His ocean-inspired rhythms are rooted in his childhood of surfing and fishing in his coastal home of Booningbah (Fingal Head) in Northern NSW. Birren’s soothing voice and his rootsy sounds takes his audience on a journey of discovery and reflection allowing plenty of time to dance and enjoy the groove.

Fresh out of the studio in 2023 Birren is set to share his music with the world. His most recent single, Greenshack, was released on 3 November 2023


Eleanor Jawurlngali Dixon is a Mudburra and Garrawa woman is from Marlinja in the Northern Territory, a small outback community almost exactly halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin.

She is a member of the highly critically acclaimed Kardajala Kirridarra and the father/daughter duo Rayella. Her music melds the contemporary with the traditional, singing in both traditional languages and English. Her voice is beautiful and ethereal and together with her collaborators Mick Turner form The Dirty Three and multi award winning cellist Stephanie Arnold, they bring the listener on a journey following the spirit of the music grounded in ancient language, deep listening, and imagination.


Melbourne based duo, The Merindas trail-blaze with their innovative style of Indigenous music. Garnering rave reviews on the live circuit, playing festivals and major events across Australia has led them to support some of Australia’s biggest stars including US Grammy Award-winning artist Brandy and UK artist Craig David. Now, the duo has taken their live show to the next level; – unleashing their electronic pop/dance hall sound to audiences – backed with new stunning visuals, choreographed moves, and a new band line-up. Unapologetic in staying true to their ethos, The Merindas are constantly re-inventing themselves, and taking audiences by storm – one show at a time.


WILDFIRE MANWURRK are a melting pot of thrashing guitars, songlines and the stories young men face in a world of culture, chaos and change. Representing remote NT, Maningrida Community, and their ancestral home, Korlorbidahdah, Stone Country Arnhem Land. This are the intersection where a tidal wave of change meets the oldest culture on earth and sounds like an 80’s garage rock anthem sung in age old languages Kune, Dalabon, Rembarrnga. “This music, it’s looking at both worlds. Telling our honest story using Balanda (whitefella) and Bininj (blackfella) music together. Kunborrk (ceremony songlines) with modern instruments are our double tools”.


Richard Frankland is a Gunditjmara man, Koytpa Koy Koy Mara. A story man. An art-warrior. His fifth album, “Discovering Leerpeen Mara” is a reimagining of Richard Frankland’s life map of songs. It features new songs like the achingly beautiful Freycinet Line and new recordings/arrangements of some of Richard’s older work like "Cry Freedom" set to the beats of NZ DJ Quix, the extraordinary guitar work of fellow Gunditjmara man Lee Sonnyboy Morgan and the brilliant didgeridoo, sound effects and beats of Larrakia man Ash Dargan.

The songs, stories and language depict humanistic issues relevant to the First Nation experience from past and present.


To say Ziggy Ramo’s voice is an important one in the Australian hip hop scene would be a gross understatement. Growing up in remote Arnhem Land, regional NSW, Sydney and Perth and with family connections in Far North QLD, his voice whether through music or public speaking, addresses the silenced injustices of Aboriginal Australia as well as other social issues. Lyrically influenced by artists such as Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Lauryn Hill and Common, along with activists like Charlie Perkins, Gary Foley and Adam Goodes, Ziggy finds passion in giving voice to issues affecting those often unheard.


Recent years have seen multiple ARIA-nominated musician and songwriter Mo’Ju enter new realms of renown, their brand of visceral storytelling striking at the heart of a country whose social and cultural climate was manoeuvring a particular state of unrest and change. A full spectrum of emotion and sonic textures marry together in Mo’Ju’s music, producing sounds that can be equal measures of sensuality, vulnerability and hard-hitting strength. When their 2018 studio album Native Tongue was released to widespread acclaim, it was not without debate, Native Tongue ignited and inspired some long overdue, sometimes tough, conversations.

The inability to categorise where an artist such as Mo’Ju fits has been a common narrative throughout their career. However, the Naarm-based musician, songwriter, storyteller and third culture kid (Filipino/Wiradjuri), is not here to be boxed in and commodified. Their music is created in alignment with a central artistic vision that is built on truth, authenticity and most importantly, legacy. For Mo’Ju, the last few years have been monumental in terms of professional and personal change. Becoming a parent as the world was entering a period of unprecedented turmoil, dramatically shifted their perspectives and priorities.

Mo’Ju enters 2023 with a fresh perspective and presenting a new body of work with their fourth studio LP, ‘ORO, PLATA, MATA’. Shedding the pressures that carried over from the huge success of their last record, Mo’Ju engages in this new creative phase, reawakened, refreshed and looking to the future, while drawing strength and inspiration from the past.

Kummargii Yulendji Gadabah (Together we rise up with knowledge).

Closing this year’s festival was the contemporary ceremony Kummargii Yulendji Gadebah (together we rise up with knowledge). Douglas & Mackay in close collaboration with Boon Wurrung Elder N’arweet Prof. Carolyn Briggs co-create a sunset celebration of Boon Wurrung culture.

Processions, music, fire & dance exhibit the diversity of First Nations peoples & welcomes the broader community who call Naarm home. Traditions & contemporary forms collide in an honouring of First Nations’ wisdom: sharing of lore, land, & story. During the day, festival goers were asked to write their hopes for healing on ceremonial cloths for inclusion in the ceremony.

To sum up this day it was a day for first nations community. 3KND once again partnered with the St.Kilda Festival team to bring our listeners who were unable to attend an opportunity to have front row seats. Special thanks to Fred Gesha so check out the images of the day and congratulations for all who were involved in making this happen.


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