Report by OD bureau, New Delhi: Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, launched Oz Fest, the biggest Australian cultural festival ever staged in India, with a spectacular outdoor concert at Purana Qila on 16 October.
The opening night concert celebrated the meeting of Australia and India as two contemporary cultures grounded in ancient tradition. Iconic Aboriginal Australian singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Indian sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar, twice-Grammynominated and Songlines Best Artist 2012 winner, and Australian didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins performed at the concert against a moving canvas of 3D light projections by AGB Events, which transformed Sher Mandal Observatory at Purana Qila. Prime Minister Gillard said “Australia is known for the most part around the world, including in India, for its sporting prowess, its beautiful scenery and its relaxed lifestyle.”
“But we are also a nation that values our world class artists, who play a critical role in society - exploring, challenging, inventing and communicating. Within and beyond our nation’s shores, our artists interpret cultural differences and bring us together. So Oz Fest is about bringing Australia's contemporary character to India in new and fresh ways”, added Prime Minister Gillard. Highlights of Oz Fest will include a tour by five Australian bands at THE AUSSIE BBQ in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru; a live music and film show created for the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema, featuring the films of Australia’s first Bollywood star, Fearless Nadia; Australia’s National Indigenous Cricket Team playing local Indian teams in one-day and Twenty20 matches in Pune and Mumbai; and performances fusing Carnatic and Western jazz traditions by Guru Kaaraikkudi R. Mani, his Sruthi Laya ensemble and the Australian Art Orchestra in Coimbatore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
The Australian Government is joining hands with 24 government, business, institutional and production partners to present over 100 events in 18 locations across India as part of Oz Fest. Highlighting the spirit of collaboration between Australia and India, Only Much Louder, one of India's leading production companies, played a critical role in staging the opening night concert.