Little festival with a big heart

frank yamma

Sacrededge will return to the coastal town of Queenscliff for a weekend of music, stories and reflection.

Now in its third year, the festival takes place from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May. It will feature more than 20 artists and performers including: Indigenous singer Frank Yamma, Kurdish refugee Reza Yarahmadi, theologian and LGBTI activist Padraig O’Tuama, author Daniel Witthaus and ABC radio presenter Rachael Kohn.

The festival is hosted by the Queenscliff Uniting Church and embraces a spirit of inclusivity and diversity. This year’s program features interactive art installations, music performances, cultural dances and keynote speakers. Attendees will also enjoy a Persian feast on Saturday night prepared by Geelong’s Iranian refugee community.

Queenscliff Uniting Church minister Rev Kerrie Lingham coordinates the Sacrededge program. She said the idea for the festival originated from a dinner table conversation with friends.

“We had just come back from the Greenbelt Festival in the UK and thought ‘wouldn’t it be fun if we could do a little festival in Australia that was inclusive, open-minded and open-hearted?’” she said.

The concept was brought to the church council, who were extremely excited by the idea. The presbytery of Port Phillip East, the Centre for Theology and Ministry and the local Queenscliff community also offered their support.

Sacrededge is built around the core values of Queenscliff Uniting Church – building connections with Indigenous and refugee communities, exploring environmental sustainability, caring for those with mental illness and supporting the LGBTI community. It provides a welcoming space for people from different backgrounds, histories and interests to share their stories and experiences with one another.

Ms Lingham emphasised that the festival is not a ‘talkfest’. Instead, it aims to foster relationships between people from diverse backgrounds.

“The purpose of the festival is to get people from those various backgrounds here, sharing their stories, their music and their ideas,” Ms Lingham said.

“To have the asylum seeker community and the Indigenous community and the LGBTI community all under the one roof is a very fascinating, and enriching, experience.

“People who have never been to church and who are not interested in the tradition, either theologically or morally, feel like this is a space where they can connect with the deeper issues in life. We also get people who have left the church and found this a place they felt safe to come.”

Richard Allen, secretary of the Queenscliff Uniting Church council, described the festival as a multi-faith and multicultural weekend.

“We get to learn a lot during the week about how other cultures exist, and how they see themselves and they see us,” he said.

“There’s also an underlying commitment to supporting Indigenous entertainers.”

The festival will begin with a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony. The Deadly Dancers, a group of young Indigenous dancers from the Geelong region, will also perform.

Approximately 180 people attended last year’s festival and organisers are expecting a similar turnout this year.

Sacrededge proudly calls itself ‘the little festival with a big heart’. Ms Lingham said the festival has a respectful community atmosphere, which makes it ideal for attendees to build relationships with one another.

“We are a small town, so we can build those strong connections easily,” she said.

“People feel like they’re coming in and connecting, rather than just coming in and observing.”
Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets are currently on sale for $139 (they will be $159 after 1 April). This includes the cost of the three-course Persian feast.

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