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You Know You're in Broome When You're at the Saltwater Music Festival

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Broome is a well-known hotbed of talent. It’s a dynamic community that has for many decades been a magnet to artists from all over Australia. They have been drawn to the creative environment of the small northwest coastal town. Before this recent migration of creatives, Broome’s pearling industry provided the perfect conditions for the development of a uniquely distinctive musical style. The town's early pearling industry had a heavy reliance on Asian labour. This saw musical genres from across Asia to flourish, mix and develop.

The musical genres overlaid on the distinctive Indigenous culture within Broome's multicultural community saw the birth of the uniquely Broome sound. That sound has now become synonymous with the famous musical Bran Nu Dae and bands like the Pigram Brothers. Fast-forward from the early pearling days to 2019 and Broome is celebrating its 7th Saltwater Music Festival. The brainchild of the legendary Steve Pigram, the Saltwater Music Festival provides a platform for bands and musicians from across the West Kimberley. Tonchi McIntosh of “The Mexicans” fame has become the driving force behind the festival.

This year’s festival sees over 30 acts performing across two days at the Broome Convention Centre Chinatown. Bands from Fitzroy Crossing, Looma, Derby, Beagle Bay, Broome and Bidyandanga performed live on Friday night. Preforming 4 to 6 songs each the changeover from one band to the next was quick and efficient keeping the enthusiastic crowd highly engaged. Frankie Shoveller created one of the more unique moments of the night performing Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits. That performance set the bar for the evening. The festival is a unique opportunity for newer bands to share a stage an audience with legends like Steve Pigram.

Day two of the festival is dedicated to the Women of the Kimberley, which will see seventeen solo, and or bands, fronted by women. This is a seminal moment in the development of the amazing women musicians of the Kimberley. The stage will be shared by Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers demonstrating not only the strength of women in the Kimberley but also the value of multiculturalism and inclusivity found in Broome.

The Broome Convention Centre is managed by Troppo Sound and has become renowned as the best music venue in Broome providing an alternative to the pub music scene. The Saltwater Festival team hopes that Broome will one day be viewed as an international music destination like Tamworth.

Feature image the Seaside Drifters.

You Know Your in Broome When.... is a blog series by #SoBroome, published every Saturday.

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Share your Saltwater Music Festival experiences with us in the comments below.






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Opera Under The Stars®

Saturday, 31 Aug 19

St Mary’s College Music Night

Sunday, 12 May 19

Joan and the Giants

Friday, 28 Jun 19

Airnorth Cable Beach Polo Tournament Day 2

Sunday, 19 May 19

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