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Semaphore Music Festival is held on the October long weekend each year. Purchase your General Public Tickets for the 2019 Semaphore Music Festival. Local South Australian artists line up for Semaphore Songs.
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Down by the River – Saturday 27 July, 2019

The inaugural ‘Down by the River’ song writing project celebrates the diversity of Indigenous Australian languages with a concert launching the official roll out of Semaphore Music Festival 2019 program during Umbrella: Winter City Sounds.

SMF19 Program launch features Frank Yamma, Vonda Last, and Corey Theatre in a performance that celebrates UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages. These important Aboriginal artists will share their culture through storytelling and song writing at Tandanya Ngunyawaiti Theatre, 2pm Saturday 27 July.

The launch features Frank Yamma, a Pitjantjatjara man who speaks five languages and sings in both Pitjantjatjara and English. His father Issac Yamma is known for singing Western style songs in traditional language. Vonda Last a Wongai woman with over 25 years musical experience as a songwriter and performer will also appear. Central to Vonda’s work in community music has been the revival of Indigenous languages and cultural maintenance through composition of contemporary music.

Corey Theatre is a young Gunditjmara/Gunai Singer Songwriter who recently recorded his first album Ngathuk Ngalina, a collaborative journey of language revival and musical expression. Through his song writing, Corey is helping to revive, preserve and maintain his Gunditjmara language.

“These are some of the oldest languages in the world,” Corey says. “It’s a precious resource because it provides an insight into a different way of looking at the world. If we can maintain that, we can increase our broader knowledge and ways of looking at everything. Some people say song came before language; people sang before they spoke.”

‘Down By The River’ will explore narratives around connection to country and family, merging cultures, friendship, transformation and reconciliation through the stories of these three South Australian based artists.

Corey says, “Frank Yamma is one of the people that inspired me to write in language. I was learning some of his songs when I started. I’m really looking forward to working with Frank and Vonda. I’m not sure what’s going to come out of this project, but I know it’s going to be something special and something new.”

Down By The River programme launch takes place at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute on 27 July at 2pm, as part of Umbrella: Winter City Sounds.


The Semaphore Music Festival has grown since the inaugural event in 2005, to four nights and three days of concerts presenting South Australian home grown, live music to a niche market of music lovers.  It is held annually over the Labour Day Long Weekend (Labour Day is the first Monday in October) around the historic seaside suburb of Semaphore and Port Adelaide.

The SMF develops artists’ skills giving them performance opportunities and exposure to new audiences, as well as developing community arts and culture in the North Western Suburbs. It is a boutique, family friendly event located 20 minutes from the Adelaide easily accessible via public transport trains or buses departing from Adelaide CBD.

In 2019 the Semaphore Music Festival will be held in pubs and clubs around Semaphore and the historic Hart’s Mill Flour Shed, Mundy Street, Port Adelaide from Friday 4 to Monday 7 October. Live Music concerts will be curated by the programming team who will invite artists to perform at Hart’s Mill and various venues such as the Semaphore Workers Club and other participating pubs and clubs.

United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages will be celebrated at Harts Mill with performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait dancers and songwriters in consultation with representatives of the local community in the inaugural event called ‘Down by the River’.

The SMF is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Government through Renewal SA, Arts South Australia, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, APRA AMCOS, and is auspiced by the Port Community Arts Centre Inc.

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The Semaphore Music Festival team acknowledge and respect that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands of the Kaurna people, and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.