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Lake Bolac Eel Festival

Lake Bolac Eel Festival

The Lake Bolac Eel Festival celebrates the eel migration season in a sacred space.

It’s a truly one-of-a-kind festival, attended by local clans and highlighted by marriage, ceremony, and events.

Lake Bolac Eel Festival 2024 Dates, Ticket Prices, Program & Live Music

The festival is held every two years in the autumn and reflects the season when the eels traditionally begin migrating to the open ocean to spawn. This is also when the indigenous communities nearby gather around Lake Bolac and Salt Creek to harvest the eels, do business, and partake in rituals and ceremonies.

The festival offers a relaxed vibe and a way for visitors to get up close and personal with the indigenous communities and uncover what is sacred.

Most importantly, the Lake Bolac Eel Festival highlights the Aboriginal community’s cultural and artistic aspects and promotes the respect of their cultural heritage. It also seeks to strengthen respect and friendship among indigenous and non-indigenous people, while promoting the conservation of Lake Bolac and nearby bodies of water.

Aside from the fine quality of eels, the Lake Bolac Eel Festival has an exciting line-up of events. These include live music, an art auction, workshops, forums, and displays.

Friday Art Auction

A fun and interesting part of the festival program is the art auction and dinner. ​The auction supports the work of talented regional artists and includes dinner.

​Many exhibiting artists are present on the night, and you can meet them and discuss their works before bidding and securing your original piece inspired by the country.

​Indigenous caterers are engaged for the dinner, which is included in the Art Auction ticket price.

​Then, take your art home to enjoy forever, a unique way to appreciate and remember the joy of community and creativity.

Proceeds from the purchase of artworks benefit both artists and the ongoing future of the festival.

Lake Bolac Eel Festival

Festival Forum

An integral part of each year’s program is the Festival Forum, which offers engaging and insightful presentations from guest speakers highlighting the particular festival theme.

Other forums have focused on grasslands, volcanoes, return to country, migration of people, plants and animals, biodiversity of indigenous grasslands, climate, energy and the future.

Always informative and sometimes confronting, it is a highly anticipated part of the festival program.

Workshops and other activities

The festival features a variety of workshops and activities for all ages, interests and capabilities. 

Food van operators offer dishes of many cultures and cuisines with BBQ eel as a special inclusion. Off-site food options include a cafe, takeaway food and drinks, a supermarket and hotel dinners.

Priority is given to local and craft-based market stalls.

A diverse range of engaging workshops are offered. Previous workshops have included eel skin tanning, bush foods and basket weaving.

There is no additional cost for workshops.

The Twilight Ceremony

A key part of the festival is the twilight ceremony, which features Indigenous dancing and storytelling.

The Twilight Ceremony marks the transition into the evening events. It’s a really special part of the festival, and everything else stops during this time.
Beginning as a simple ceremonial campfire gathering in 2005, it has developed into a unique celebration incorporating Indigenous dance, music and community theatre, telling stories of the Country and always based around the story of the eel migration.

The Healing Walk

The initial concept of the festival involved walking in the country to the lake and having a celebratory concert around a campfire.
The Healing Walk has followed most of the major local waterways, both upstream and downstream, since the festival’s inception in 2005.

Since the first Healing Walk from the mouth of the Hopkins River to Lake Bolac, each year, a small group of around 20 have ‘walked’ one of the waterways associated with the lake.

These walks have been made possible through the cooperation of landholders, farmers and community members along the routes.

The participation of members of local Indigenous communities is an integral part of the walks.

The Healing Walk is an opportunity to experience ‘walking on Country’. The 2022 Healing Walk, on 13th May, was a one-day walk of 9-10 kilometres, finishing with an afternoon tea kindly supported by a grant from Treasure Hunters Hall.

Live music

The festival’s Live Music Program provides a wide array of eclectic acts and styles while retaining its grass-roots origins.
Its hallmark is a line-up of musicians and performers who embrace festival values, understand its cultural and environmental significance, and are committed to reconciliation.

Some performers are recognised and celebrated internationally, and many are nationally. Others are new and emerging artists, and all perform original material.

Neil Murray
Neil Murray is one of Australia’s original and respected singer/songwriters and has enjoyed a solo career since 1989. 

He first emerged in the early 1980s as a founding member of the ground‐breaking Warumpi Band that helped make contemporary Indigenous music heard in mainstream Australia.

Neil is also a Lake Bolac local and, as the founder of the festival, is always honoured and excited to perform in front of a home crowd.

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What date is the Lake Bolac Eel Festival?
What time is the Lake Bolac Eel Festival?
Friday Night Art Auction: 6pm - 10:30pm
Saturday Festival: 10:30am - 11:30pm

Please visit our website for more information on the Lake Bolac Eel Festival.
Where is the Lake Bolac Eel Festival located?
What is the Lake Bolac Eel Festival address?
What are the Lake Bolac Eel Festival entry prices?
Friday Night Art Auction
Entry: $33
No Concession tickets available

Saturday Festival
Under 16yrs: Free (Must be accompanied by an adult)
Adult: $77
Ticket is for:
- Festival forum
- Live music - main stage
- Busker's stage
- Workshops
- Twilight Ceremony

Please visit our website for more information on the Lake Bolac Eel Festival.
What is the Lake Bolac Eel Festival phone number?

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