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Art in the Park, Waringarri Fashion modelled by Jake Powers.. Photo SoCo StudiosThe Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster has kick started the tourism season in Kununurra in the East Kimberley in north-east Western Australia.

The nine-day festival entertained locals and visitors with big concerts, laugh-out-loud comedy, Indigenous culture, arts, fashion and family-friendly festivities at the Iconic Kimberley Festival.

Sophie Cooke, chair person of Ord Valley Events Inc, said the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster is a huge annual celebration that everyone looks forward to.

“Overall, the execution of the Muster program has been outstanding,” Ms Cooke said.

“All events were well received, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

A highlight of the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster, which was held from 17 to 25 May 2024 in Kununurra, is theNexus Airlines Kimberley Moon Experience.

Thousands turned out to see Australian rock superstars Rogue Traders, The Screaming Jets, Sarah McLeod and Bob Evans put on a party on Saturday night (18th May 2024).

Dressed to the nines in sequins and tuxedoes, guests at the glamorous, black-tie Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner were treated to an all-inclusive evening with champagne, canapés, a seated multi-course meal with beverages.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte sashayed around the stage as the Rogue Traders had the crowd jumping and singing along to ‘Voodoo Child’, ‘In Love Again’, ‘Don’t You Wanna Feel’ and a cover of Transvision Vamp’s ‘I Want Your Love’.

The Screaming Jets played their hit songs including ‘Better’, ‘Shivers’, ‘Helping Hand’ and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’.

Lead singer of The Screaming Jets, Dave Gleeson, said he brought his family with him to Kununurra.

“Usually, in the cities, we just see the inside of hotels, but not here. I brought my family, and we went to Molly Springs, which was incredible, we went on a river cruise on the Ord River at sunset and had a beautiful dinner on the boat – that’s the difference playing here at the Nexus Airlines Kimberley Moon Experience,” Mr Gleeson said.

“We’ve been so well looked after.”

Art in the Park, Waringarri Fashion modelled by Aralayna Griffiths. Photo SoCo Studios

Kevin Mitchell, aka Bob Evans, sang and played his guitar with a mix of music from his collection and that of Jedadiah as the sun set.

The party really cranked up a gear when Sarah McLeod (of The Superjesus) rocked Celebrity Tree Park with high energy and pitch-perfect vocals, supported by The Wanderers, who played again with 27 Club later in the week.

Club 27 was the Muster event that had everyone around town talking.

The energetic band told stories and rocked Kununurra, filling the front of the stage with dancers while belting out songs from musicians who died at the age of 27, namely, Jimmy Hendrix, James Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.

Sarah McLeod said her time in Kununurra has left her with a lasting impact.

“Usually I play solo, just me, but to play at the Kimberley Moon with The Wanderers, and again as part of the 27 Club, has made me rediscover my love playing live rock music,” Ms McLeod said.

“We’ve been lucky enough to see some of this beautiful region. We went on a gorgeous sunset cruise up the Ord and to El Questro to hike Emma Gorge. We’ve really had the best time.

“We went to the Storytelling Night and listened to the Elder describe how the Country talks to you, and after being here, I believe that. What I need to work out is ‘What is the Country saying to me’?”

Miriwoong Elder David Newry sat fireside at Storytelling Night and talked about culture, old days working on stations, stolen wages, bush foods and changes to the region.

Aboriginal culture was also highlighted at Art in the Park which brought Indigenous and non-indigenous artists and artwork from the remote corners of the East Kimberley to Celebrity Tree Park in Kununurra.

Warlayirti Art Centre (Balgo Community), Kira Kiro Art Centre (Kalumburu), Warmun Art Centre (Warmun), Jaru Girl-Bianca Long (Wyndham), Waringarri Art Centre (Kununurra) and Artlandish Aboriginal Gallery (Kununurra) along with four local Kununurra non-indigenous artists displayed and sold pieces.

Works included oil on canvas, printed silk scarves, scrunchies, screen printing, carvings, porcelain boab sculptures and hand printed clothing.

To raptures of applause and cheers, nine Indigenous models took to the makeshift catwalk at the Boonkaj Fashion Parade, a highlight of Art in the Park, just one of the festival events programmed at the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster.

The Boonkaj Collection celebrates the ‘emerging or coming out’ of designs by five textile artists from Waringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra who block print linens by hand.

Fashion Show co-ordinator and model, Brittany Pitt-Lancaster, was responsible for selecting the models, styling and organising the show.

“It was such a privilege and a proud experience to be able to model and showcase the artist’s amazing work on the runway,” Ms Pitt-Lancaster said.

For some of the models, it was the first time they’d ever been in a fashion parade. Watching them nervously walk out at the start of the show, and in front of the crowd, grow with confidence with each step, was a moving experience.

Jimeoin, Daniel Connolly, Ting Lim and Sian Choyce lapped up the laughter from the big crowd at the Mortgage Choice Kimberley Comedy in the Park.

“The Ord Valley Muster was just fantastic, the best thing in WA, even better than a pink diamond,” Jimeoin said

“The crowd was super, and we had the best time in Kununurra. I went fishing with my son, went to Zebedee Springs and Purnululu National Park, and played golf. I haven’t been to Kununurra for 17 years and that’s definitely too long between visits.”

The Corroboree Under The Stars at Waringarri Arts drew a huge crowd, enthralled with the energy of the cultural music and movement.

Local families and visiting guests enjoyed the free Horizon Power Party in the Park that featured school bands and choirs from Kununurra Senior High School and Primary School, along with dance performances, and a concert by the Darwin Army Band.

At Party in the Park, the much anticipated Silver Search attracted hundreds of adults, teens and toddlers who searched their respective sand pits, digging frantically with their hands to find coveted numbered pegs to claim prizes of jewellery and other items.

There were morning Yoga Boats, the Waringarri Arts Centre ExperienceMorning Ord Experience, a 55km river cruise to Lake Argyle, the Gibb Challenge, and the Frontier Helicopters Muster Rodeo, which concluded the festival.

The Rodeo Arena was filled with local and visiting cowboys and cowgirls, horses, calves, and bulls, entertaining the crowd.

Kununurra in Western Australia’s northwest, is Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng country.

Run by a volunteer board and held annually each May since 2000 (with the pandemic forcing cancellations in 2020 and 2022), the ‘Muster’ has been a bucket list event for travellers seeking unique Kimberley experiences.

The WA Government is a proud supporter of the event through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions.

Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster

  • 17-25 May 2024
  • The Iconic Kimberley Festival and the region’s biggest showcase event
  • www.ordvalleymuster.com.au