The West Australian city of Fremantle will ring out with the sounds of John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin at its alternative to Australia Day celebrations in 2017, which will see all commemorative events moved away from the controversial date of 26 January.
As The West Australian reports, the city will hold its culturally inclusive One Day In Fremantle event on 28 January following an earlier commitment by the council to cancel its traditional fireworks and other Australia Day celebrations historically held on the 26th.
Butler told the paper he wanted to be a part of the event because he "was interested in celebrating a day in which all Australians can be included and that's a bit more culturally inclusive".
For his part, city mayor Brad Pettitt stood firm in the face of apparently significant community opposition to the move, asserting that the intent is to acknowledge "loud and clear" messages from the area's Aboriginal elders regarding the appropriateness of the 26 January date.
"For us as a city, we thought it was time to acknowledge it wasn't a day of celebration for everybody and it was an opportunity for us to come up with a different format on a different day that could be truly inclusive," he said.
The event is designed to be broadly welcoming for all people living in Australia, and will include citizenship ceremonies that have been historically held on Australia Day.
The movement against recognising 26 January as a day of celebration has gained considerable momentum in recent years. In 2015, The Medics released Wake Up, a protest single against the day, while earlier this year, The Presets took a very public stance against the holiday. Most notably, rappers Briggs and Trials — as A.B. Original — took aim on their incendiary track January 26 (and just-released new album, Reclaim Australia).
Meanwhile, in August, a petition was launched to move triple j's annual Hottest 100 countdown away from the date, a campaign that gained significant support from the Greens but ultimately failed to sway the broadcaster.
Esplanade Reserve, Fremantle