Friday, October 14th, 2011

One of Australia’s most innovative indigenous bands will be the sound of the Eden Whale Festival, as the NSW town celebrates centuries of connection with the marine giants over the last weekend of October.

OKA will play live before and after the laser light show on the evening of Saturday, October 29. Some of their music will also be used during the laser show, which has been created to highlight the town’s past and present.

According to the band’s Chris Lane, OKA has not played in the area before, but the band members know a little of its history and beauty and hope to learn more – and see some whales – while they are there.

“We’re staying in Eden for four days and we’re really looking forward to having a look around and being part of the festival,” Chris says.

“This will be our first gig back on home soil after nearly five months on the road in Canada and the US. We have a whole bunch of fresh tracks from the new album, Milk & Honey and this will be the debut of the album in Australia.”

OKA’s music is unique, incorporating flavours of dub, electronica, hip-hop, jazz and many forms of world music. Lane’s fellow band members are Stu Boga Fergie (Didgeristu) and Charlie Zappa, the combination of their different backgrounds, talents and experiences creating a sound that has been applauded at countless music festivals throughout Australia, Asia and North America.

This year’s Whale Festival marks just over 80 years since one of the most famous whales in Australian history died in the waters of Twofold Bay on the NSW Sapphire Coast.

In the laser show, which is funded by a grant from Festivals Australia, ‘Old Tom’ the killer whale will be joined by some of Eden’s ‘whalemen’ as they reappear in the town’s port of Snug Cove to tell the unique story of how they worked together in days gone by.

“The death of Old Tom in 1930 sparked the creation of our famous Eden Killer Whale Museum in 1931,” says organising committee spokesperson, Jenny Robb.

“So this year’s Festival really marks an important anniversary in our history. The story of Old Tom and his killer whale pack very much belongs to Eden.

“As far as we are aware, there has been no similar pact between man and these marine mammals anywhere else in the world, and it’s a collaboration that pre-dates European settlement – the Aboriginals also tell stories of killer whales that helped them hunt and kill the bigger whales,” Ms Robb says.

The Festival coincides with high season on the ‘humpback highway’, the annual southward migration of the humpback whales, from the warm northern waters where they give birth, to their home in the Southern Ocean.

While killer whales are obviously the ‘star’ of the weekend, the Festival will also include popular activities such as a street parade from the main street of town to the port, a model ship display, capstan pull and carnival rides, along with a wide range of different displays, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages.

The Young Endeavour will sail into Twofold Bay on Saturday and moor in Snug Cove. The beautiful tall ship, which is used for The Royal Australian Navy's sail training program, will be open to visitors.

Eden is located on the Far South Coast of NSW, Australia. It is approximately halfway between Sydney and Melbourne (six/seven hours’ drive) and about three hours’ drive from Canberra via Cooma.

REX operates daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Merimbula with land connections easily arranged. There are also bus services from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

More details about the area, and accommodation bookings, are available on the Sapphire Coast Tourism website, or call toll-free on 1800 150 457. For all details on the Festival, visit

Liz Swanton, Media Liaison
Sapphire Coast Tourism
Telephone: (02) 9771 1277; 0417 232 643
Email: [email protected]

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Liz Swanton, Media Liaison, Sapphire Coast Tourism

P: (02) 9771 1277
M: 0417 232 643


Eden Whale Festival, OKA, indigenous music



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