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Jimmy Little Memorial Festival Will Be A Special Day In Lightning Ridge

21 May 2023 | 11:14 am | Ellie Robinson

The lineup features Buzz Bidstrup of The Angels, Kasey Chambers, James Blundell and more.

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A new festival in Lightning Ridge – an outback town in north-western NSW – will honour the life and music of the late, great Jimmy Little, with two days of music, arts and cultural happenings planned for next month.

The Jimmy Little Memorial Music & Arts Festival will be a free event, held at the Lightning Ridge Sports Oval on Saturday June 10 and Sunday 11. Kasey Chambers will headline the first day’s live music program, with that lineup also featuring Buzz Bidstrup of The Angels, Dean Ray, Mark Callaghan of Gangajang, the Buddy Knox Band and Just Us. Joining them will be an emerging artist chosen through a purpose-built talent quest, details of which can be found here.

James Blundell will headline the Sunday’s program, following performances from James Henry, Joshua Doctor, Brendan Gallagher of Karma County, Stiff Gins and Kelsey Iris. Anthony Lamond has also been tapped to MC the second day’s festivities. 

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Many of the acts onboard have close ties to Little and his enduring legacy; Bidstrup, for example was the late Yorta Yorta man’s longstanding manager, and continues to operate The Jimmy Little Foundation. Gallagher also produced Little’s seminal 1999 album Messenger.

Little was a pioneer of Indigenous Australian music, releasing more than 50 records over the course of his five-decade tenure. He was declared an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2004 – where he was honoured “for [his] service to the entertainment industry as a singer, recording artist and songwriter and to the community through reconciliation and as an ambassador for Indigenous culture” – some five years after he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. The legendary songman died from natural causes on April 2, 2012 at the age of 75. 

Last month, Frances Peters-Little (Little’s daughter) published Jimmy Little: A Yorta Yorta Man, the first-ever authorised biography about his life.