The Pasifika community in Sydney Australia will take centre stage for the first ever Pacific festival at Darling Harbour.
Pacific Soul Festival is a two-day event and is set to debut in September at Tumbalong Park.
Pacific students will be showcasing their cultural talents at the Pacific Soul Festival. Photo/ Pasifika Sydney.
CEO and co-founder of the festival, Ruth Fuatai Aumua, says excitement is building in the lead up to the big finale. She says this is the first time a Pacific group has done anything to this scale, to hold a festival at Darling Harbour.
“Having to sit in front of a government panel and letting them know how great our culture is and how great our people are, took some convincing,” she says.
"We want people to know we are more than just football players and bouncers. Our Pacific people are everywhere. Polynesians are mainstream artists, actors, doctors, singers, teachers, lawyers, you name it, we’ve got it. That’s what this is all about, sharing our rich and unique culture to the world starting with Sydney."
The Samoan organiser says it’s been a tough journey to get Pacific Soul Festival to this point.
She and husband Fata Michael Aumua have been working on the concept since the beginning of the year and she says it's a project close to their hearts.
“My motivation was to showcase our Pacific people on a grander scale and show the people of Sydney what we have to offer,” she says.
The festival will kick off with performances from school students, who were set to perform at the annual Sydney Pasifika event in July.
Aumua says Pasifika Sydney was postponed due to a contractual disagreement, which left more than 1800 students with no venue to perform.
She says they offered Pasifika Sydney the chance to showcase their students' talents at the Pacific Soul Festival, at no charge.
“I want to help my people. I put my money where my mouth is and practice what I preach," says Aumua. “These high schools kids are learning about their culture and just want the opportunity to showcase who they are. They are going to be a big hit on the day."
Aumua is a professional photographer who has taken pictures of celebrities and major events such as ARIA, FOMO, Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Australia and says she has seen a lot of ethnic groups in the central city, but when it comes to Pacific events, they're never displayed on Sydney's main stage.
She says they're nervous, but she’s confident everyone will enjoy the experience.
“God is the foundation for everything we do and this is our way of giving back to our community in Sydney Australia," she says.
Aumua says the festival will showcase the beauty of Pacific people.
“It’s a combination of Pacific Island dance, music and food, allowing all Pacific Islanders to showcase their culture and traditions to Sydney and the world."
She's inviting Pacific people to come along and be a part of this Pacific milestone.
Pacific Soul Festival will be held from September 29 to 30.