The West Australian city of Fremantle is holding an alternative to Australia Day celebrations next year. Rather than a commemorative event on Australia Day (26th Januaary), new festival One Day will be held on January 28th, two days later.
Confirmed so far for headline spots are Australian artists John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin.
Fremantle intends for One Day to be a culturally inclusive event, with its city council having already committed to cancelling the traditional 26th January Australia Day fireworks earlier this year.
As The West Australian reports, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt firmly, held his ground despite some apparent resistance to the idea within the Fremantle community. He confirmed that the reason for making this decision was due to messages which were expressed “loud and clear” from Aboriginal elders in the area, regarding the celebrations that took place on 26th January each year.
Pettitt explained: “For us as a city, we thought it was time to acknowledge it wasn’t a day of celebration for everybody and it was an opportunity for us to come up with a different format on a different day that could be truly inclusive.”
John Butler says he is excited to be a part of One Day as he “was interested in celebrating a day in which all Australians can be included and that’s a bit more culturally inclusive”.
In a statement (via the ABC) Mayor Brad Pettitt added:
“Australia Day will still exist and people can still come down and there will still be things to do in Fremantle on Australia Day. This is just offering another alternative event that celebrates the diversity of Australians and one that I know Aboriginal people in Fremantle are more comfortable with than January 26.
“There is no doubt that Aboriginal people in the Fremantle area overwhelmingly have supported this and for many of them Australia Day isn’t actually a day that brings all Australians together. It’s a day that has really mixed feelings and I think that’s why as a council we are quite proud to have taken this step.”
One Day intends to be wholly inclusive to every single person living in Australia. It will also incorporate the historic citizenship ceremonies which traditionally take place on Australia Day.
Since then, rappers Briggs and Trials (AKA A.B. Original) have dropped their single January 26th (below), which deals specifically with issues surrounding Australia Day celebrations. The track is taken from their album debut Reclaim Australia, which is out today.
A.B. Original have also been particularly vocal about the recent petition which was launched to try to move triple j‘s annual Hottest 100 countdown to a different date, so that it doesn’t fall on 26th January.