That’s all this is for, really. To get to the great big post-Uluru-visit after party.

A party build on love, water slides and Vance Joy covers.

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Complete with ukulele.

Saturday is the day of our big Community Festival. A free event put on for the residents of Yulara and Mutitjulu, taking place in the local football grounds, with a whole range of activities run by our Pilgrims.

It’s an opportunity for interaction with the kids of Mutitjulu, who this year ran head first into the water slide, the face painting, the jumping rope, circus skills (which they were much better at than any of us) and the giant parachute. It was all we could do to keep up with them.

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Literally, in many cases.

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Especially on the water slide.

The water slide came courtesy of the local Fireys (seen here) and their hoses. Yes, multiple hoses. Boobs the Basecamp dog, who could regularly be seen around the campgrounds enjoying their sprinklers, entered doggie heaven when she saw the firehoses.

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So much heaven.

For those less inclined to get soaking wet, there were quieter opportunities. The girls got a chance to decorate each other with paint and henna and nail polish, and did each others hair. So did the boys.

The boys got to kick the football and compete in races, and so did the girls.

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The painting went both ways. The Muti kids preferred painting to being painted.

 

But perhaps the best most memorable part of the festival was when we were asked to pack up. Of course we listened intently, hopped to it and packed all the fun away immediately. Lol no. No one actually wanted to end, and our face paints and skipping ropes had to be dragged out of our hands, a good 45mins after the Festival officially ended.

We’d begun to really get to know the kids, and experience a little of what life was like when issues of culture and class were no longer relevant.

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But we had to pack up, because the Festival was not the only thing we had to do that day. The other major thing on the Pilgrim agenda is our concert.

There’s a lot of fun in our concert. A lot of miming too. Song singing, some dancing, some re-enacting of the weirder experiences that the Pilgrims had on their trips. There are group songs, poems, a toilet tent and a man in a Green Lantern suit. There were fake bodily fluids, screaming children and 80’s glam rock wigs.

Those last few sound a little weird, but I guess that’s what you get when you leave the entertainment up to a group of teenagers who’ve been trapped together on a bus for a week.

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There were also good old fashioned sing-a-longs.

And don’t worry; someone did play ‘Uptown Funk’.

 

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…and a bit of hip hop too.

By the time the sun was setting we’d learnt perhaps a little too much about each others Pilgrimage experiences. But we had a little bit left to learn about the Aboriginal experience. We had Steve talk us through the Water Ceremony; a hugely significant part of our Big Weekend.

It relates to the past and how Aboriginal Australians were treated by our European settlers, and offers a chance to choose a different future through the simple act of drinking a small cup of water.

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Steve and the setting sun.

From here the Pilgrims hear a song, this time performed by Sophie and Lachie, that is a long standing tradition of the Pilgrimage to Uluru, called ‘Red Prickle Beard’. Originally written by Tony Williams, it comes to mean a lot to all of us.

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Sophie singing one-armed.

That’s the Festival Concert day in a nutshell. From here the Pilgrims head back to camp, get a few hours sleep to be up and ready for our Dawn Service and our last goodbyes to the Rock.