Electric Fields, Madi Colville-Walker, Scott Darlow & More On The Importance Of Treaty Day Out

21 February 2024 | 10:45 am | Ellie Robinson
In Partnership With Treaty Day Out

Ahead of this year’s Treaty Day Out festival, we caught up with six acts on the lineup to chat about why it’s such a significant event.

Electric Fields / Madi Colville-Walker / Scott Darlow

Electric Fields / Madi Colville-Walker / Scott Darlow (Supplied)

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In just a little over a week – on Saturday March 2, to be exact – Ballarat (Wadawurrung Country) will play host to one of Australia’s most important music festivals: Treaty Day Out.

As hinted by the name, Treaty Day Out spotlights the ongoing campaign to have Victoria’s state Government sign a treaty with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, which would see them acknowledge the sovereignty of Australia’s First Peoples, and work directly with Aboriginal communities to help improve their wellbeing now and long into the future. As explained by the Victorian government’s own First Peoples State Relations crew, Treaty would serve as “the embodiment of Aboriginal self-determination”.

2024’s Treaty Day Out will take place at the historic Ballarat City Oval, with its lineup featuring such deadly heavyweights as Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, Mo’Ju, 3% (the supergroup of Nooky, Dallas Woods and Angus Field), Scott Darlow, Blackfire, Brolga, Madi Colville-Walker, Jada Weazel and Canisha. It will also host craft stalls, activities, food trucks and more.

Ahead of the big day, we caught up with six acts on the lineup to chat about why Treaty Day Out is such a significant event. Read on below, then head here to read more about the festival itself, and here to grab tickets.

For you personally, what is the significance of an event like Treaty Day Out?

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BLACKFIRE: These Treaty events give people knowledge and understanding of Victorian Indigenous culture through music. It brings people of all backgrounds together for an exciting future ahead through this Treaty process that’s rolling out in Victoria.

CANISHA: Treaty Day Out brings the community together to celebrate our culture and amplify our voices. When I watched Treaty Day Out last year, I gave myself the goal of playing the show in the future, and didn't think it would be 12 months later. I'm so excited to play on the same stage as Jessica Mauboy, Mo'Ju and Jada Weazel.

MADI COLVILLE-WALKER: It’s such an honour to be involved with events such as Treaty Day Out. I have had the opportunity to perform at previous shows and each one is so special! I love catching up and connecting with everyone that attends, plus the lineup is always deadly!

SCOTT DARLOW: Treaty Day Out is a super important event because it serves to draw people from all different backgrounds together, united in the belief that a Treaty for First Nations people is paramount. It also educates thousands about the need for Treaty and the process that’s taking place. 

ELECTRIC FIELDS: It’s an honor to participate, and an opportunity to stand behind unfinished business and remind music lovers that First Australians are still waiting for justice and truth-telling of Australia’s shameful history.

BROLGA: This is an opportunity of a lifetime. You don’t get an opportunity very often to support a cause this important. Having a strong, united voice through music is a very powerful thing.

There will be thousands of people heading along, from all walks of life – what do you hope they all get out of the experience?

BLACKFIRE: Music is a powerful tool to bring about awareness and understanding. Blackfire’s political lyrics have stood the test of time in terms of singing about the plight of urban Blacks.

CANISHA: My mum is bringing my three- and four-year-old siblings. I can't wait for them to watch me on the stage and be surrounded by their people and culture.

MADI COLVILLE-WALKER: I love that the stories and songlines of our culture are told through our art. I think it’s important for people to come along to see how we are still so connected to culture, to land, to our ancestors. As an artist, I feel privileged that I can share my music journey through my songs. Being a role model is a big passion of mine, not just for younger generations but for everyone. I hope my stories can be an inspiration for those who may be too shy to step out of their comfort zone.

SCOTT DARLOW: I’m really looking forward to seeing Brolga. Russell is a dear friend and a talented artist. 

ELECTRIC FIELDS: I hope the audience is consumed with joy from the singular talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians. 

BROLGA: They will learn a lot from listening to a diverse range of voices from within Australia’s First Nations community. I hope it inspires and motivates people to help preserve and promote our Indigenous heritage. I also hope it introduces people to our music and our new album. I think they will be introduced to some new and dynamic Australian acts and I hope we create some new fans on the day.

Why do you think it’s important to be a part of the journey towards Treaty?

BLACKFIRE: Treaty is a way forward to bring Australian Indigenous culture front and centre of our nation. Australia has the oldest culture in the world and it should be celebrated and preserved! A Treaty would do this, ensuring that Aboriginal people would lead the way!

CANISHA: I believe it's important to be a part of the journey so we know what we are fighting for. I think Treaty will help achieve self-determination for our people.

MADI COLVILLE-WALKER: I think holding events like this is highly significant, working towards closing the gap by bringing people together. It allows people to gain a stronger understanding of our rich culture, how sacred it is and what it means to us.

SCOTT DARLOW: We are the only country on the planet where the colonisers haven’t negotiated a treaty, and that’s shameful. It’s time for change. This treaty, I believe, will help close the gap and bring equality for so many that are mired in generational disadvantage and trauma. 

ELECTRIC FIELDS: Treaty is what humans do after a war to make peace and recognise the reality of what occurred in colonisation. Without a Treaty, we continue to sweep our history under the rug.

BROLGA: Our First Nations communities need to come together and represent with a united front and Treaty Day Out is the perfect platform to do this. We need to be a cohesive force for our people, our culture and for the good of Australia as a whole. This is an exciting opportunity for First Nations people to have a voice. We are largely repressed in Australia and it is an important platform for our voices to be heard. From the north, south, east and west in pop, rock, hip-hop and tribal voice, Treaty yeah!

Treaty Day Out 2024 is taking place on Saturday March 2 at Ballarat’s City Oval (on Wadawurrung Country). Head here for more info.