Shinju Matsuri cements its place as top regional event
The 46th Shinju Matsuri has been hailed a huge success - spectacular hallmark events, traditions, long-standing rituals and new satellite events have merged to evolve Shinju Matsuri into a world-class festival.
The event closed last night with the Festival Finale at Cable Beach Amphitheatre set against the orange sky, timed to perfection for the spectacular Broome sunset.
Thousands turned out to the free event that featured food trucks, market stalls, local musicians including the much-loved Pigram Brothers, a moving set by Order of Australia Medal recipient Archie Roach and a farewell performance by Sammy the Dragon before he returns to slumber.
The Festival Finale ended with a dazzling display of fireworks that was made even more special by the accompanied music of the Pigram Brother’s ‘Raindancing’ with Mark Akinson on the didgeridoo.
Other Shinju Matsuri highlights include the Opening Ceremony, A View to Asia sculpture awards and Art Awards, the Floating Lantern Matsuri and the sold-out Sunset Long Table Dinner with Adam Liaw.
The high standard of entrants at this year’s Shinju Matsuri Art Awards saw the top prize split between two deserving winners.
Country over time by Luru Jarri Shoreline and Jeanne Browne (piece 56), andThe Seven Sisters by Jody Loaring (piece 63) were both awarded first prize with the artists each receiving $4,000 in prize money.
Winner of A View to Asia Art Awards, an interactive sculpture exhibition featuring 13 pieces along Cable Beach, was Andy Greig for his work Theropod.
Winner of 2010 Masterchef, Liaw said he was extremely happy with the Sunset Long Table Dinner, hailing the event as a huge success.
“We had 405 smiling faces at the end of the night, and lots of lovely compliments from everyone, which was lovely,” Liaw said.
“Watching the way the team pulled everything together was really gratifying for me. Local chefs, chefs of all different backgrounds, you name it – there were representatives of just about every cultural group in Broome working behind the scenes, and most of us had just met that day.
“Everyone worked very hard to create a fantastic night - I don't see it as me coming in putting on a dinner, I think of it as the community in Broome putting on a dinner that I happened to help at, so I was very, very happy to be a part of that.
“As for the venue, you can't beat it. You literally cannot beat that as a venue. It's not without its challenges, being outdoors, having to get everyone off the beach before 10pm, before the tide comes in. But the trade off for that is probably the best sunset in the world, and being able to sit on a beach, on the sand, in perfect WA weather. You just cannot beat it. I can't put it any other way!”
Liaw said that he always loves coming to Broome.
“I brought my family with me for the first time and they have loved it, I think, even more than me! Shinju Matsuri is one of the most relaxed, most honest, and most fun cultural events in Australia. It’s just Broome on a show, but in a typically Broome way,” Liaw said.
The Opening Ceremony on Sunday September 12 attracted over 3,000 attendees, the largest number in the event’s recent history.
Shinju Matsuri officially started with the traditional waking of Sammy the Dragon by the eldest man in Broome of Chinese decent, Doug Fong. Sammy then led 20 vibrant and colourful floats in the Drug Aware Float Parade, which delighted spectators along Broome’s streets finishing at Male Oval.
The Floating Lantern Matsuri on Cable Beach was a special moment of reflection, recognition and remembrance. Thousands turned up, creating their own lantern before launching it into the outgoing tide, with special tributes, prayers, wishes and messages of peace and hope floating off into the sunset.
The essence of Old Broome was captured in the new free satellite event, the Jetty to Jetty Trail on the town’s historic foreshore in the heart of Yawuru country and the hub of Broome’s vibrant pearling past. It covered three locations – Streeters Jetty, Kennedy Hill and the Goods Shed, where projections and performances brought the stories to life in a unique and moving way.
Shinju President Chris Maher said the success of Shinju Matsuri is a testament to the strong community spirit in Broome.
“Without commitment and support from locals and businesses, it would not be possible to stage an event of this calibre,” Maher said.
“As a Board, we have a vision to grow Shinju Matsuri to become a ‘must-attend’ event on the Australian calendar, and after the introduction of some new elements, reorganisation of timings of traditional events and generally stepping-up to improve every aspect, we’re well on our way.
“The people of Broome should be very proud of Shinju Matsuri – it has a long history and a very bright future,” he said.
Shinju Matsuri is proudly supported by the Western Australian Government through Royalties for Regions and Tourism Western Australia.
Next year, Shinju Matsuri will be held from 2–10 September 2017.
Shinju Matsuri - Japanese for “Festival of the Pearl” – is a celebration of the many cultures that shaped Broome during the peak of the prosperous pearl industry particularly the Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Aboriginal cultures.
For more information, visit www.shinjumatsuri.com.au