Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee Indigenous music festival will flood St Kilda with the sound of deadly music and messages on Saturday.

Taking place at O’Donnell Gardens, Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee is a free event with the City of Port Phillip, announcing a line-up that includes Emma Donovan and her band The Putbacks, Kee’ahn, John Wayne Parsons, Pirritu, The Struggling Kings, Benny Walker, Monica Karo and Key Hoo.

Key Hoo is a four-piece alternative pop/rock band born in trendy dive bars in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Band member, Mathew Hooler, said the band is incredibly excited to play Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee.

“We got the call to be a part of it and we were so happy. It’s an awesome festival and there’s some amazing people on [the line-up] – a couple of our friends on the line too,” Hooler said.

“The headliner, Emma Donovan, I actually grew up with her. Her mum and my mum went to school together so we’ve known each other since we were small kids. I’ve been watching her career and seeing her take off, so I’m excited that we are on the same line-up.”

The band has performed at NAIDOC in the City 2019 at Federation Square supporting Dan Sultan, Groovin the Moo 2019 supporting Birdz, and NAIDOC Ball 2019 supporting Baker Boy.

They’ve also shared the stage with Alice Skye and DRMNGNOW!

“We had an awesome 2019 … Birdz put us on his showcase at Groovin the Moo and after that week, it changed who we were as musicians. We realised that we have something here, and we had to really harness it and it pushed us to do more.”

The band recently released their EP, and had the Merindas at the launch singing supporting vocals.

“They are amazing … we worked with them and hit it off and been friends ever since.

“We’re so thankful to be associated with all these amazing people that we look up to and then to be working alongside them and playing these shows.”

“It gives it a family sort of vibe … you’re hanging around these people you admire and being around them and hanging out really humanises them. They are just people, they’re family.”

Key Hoo were awarded the Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent at the Victorian Awards in 2019.

“That was such a big moment for us, to be able to go to the ceremony and get our name called out and get up there. We get a grant out of that which we are planning to use to record an album.”

Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee will also host a range of dance and performance workshops by:

  • Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects
  • A cooking demo by Mabu Mabu, a Torres Strait company who uses seasonal and native ingredients
  • Educational Bush Animal workshops by Mirrnong Minnie Elder, Aunty Bronwyn Razem
  • Bush Foods and Survival Plants workshop with Walkabout Education
  • Kids sports with the Police and Citizen’s Youth Club (PCYC).

Market stalls will line the festival and give festival-goers the opportunity to buy ethical Indigenous goods from creators like Haus of Dizzy, Wanyara, Collectemall, Gammin Threads, Mara Metal Art and Yarn Strong Sista.

The Australian Defence Force, Willin Centre Melbourne University, Star Health and City of Port Phillip will also have stalls on the day.

Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee is on between 11am and 7pm on Saturday February 1 at O’Donnell Gardens, St Kilda.

By Rachael Knowles