To commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sikh Youth Australia are hosting the first-ever multi-faith music festival in NSW called ‘Divine Steps’.
Officiating at the pre-launch of Divine Steps this week was legendary cricketing icon, Steve Waugh AO. Steve, who is loved by Australians and Indians alike, was a perfect candidate to launch the upcoming festival, given his love for the country and his affiliation with India throughout his career.
Set to be held at Pyrmont Bay Park on 10 Nov, the festival is the first interfaith event of its kind which will see members of the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Bahai faiths gather to perform their spiritual music in celebration of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.
Speaking at the pre-launch event, Waugh reminisced fondly of the many interactions he has had with Sikh cricket players whilst representing Australia. Outlining how the 50,000-strong NSW Sikh community have contributed to Australia, Waugh championed the upcoming festival as yet another great endeavour as it sought to connect diverse groups at a time when there is so much that separates us.
Steve commended the Sikhs for always seeking the goodwill of all humankind in their daily prayers – ‘sarbat da bhala’ (blessings for everyone). He also noted how Sikhs are gaining a reputation for feeding millions through the Sikh principle of sewa (service) and langar (free community food).
The launch event at the Royal Automobile Club in Sydney drew together leaders of twelve of Sydney’s major faith organisations amongst other prominent corporate and community leaders. Also present was India’s Consul General in Sydney, Mr Manish Gupta, who talked about the unparalleled impact Guru Nanak’s message has had on generations of Indians of all backgrounds and faiths.
Mr Gupta warmly shared how millions had been touched by Nanak’s advocacy of neutrality and inclusiveness across all faiths and creeds, which he conveyed to the masses as he travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the inspiration for the Divine Steps Festival stemmed from the fact that Guru Nanak travelled over 28,000kms during his spiritual journey of learning and teaching, mostly on foot.
Beyond spiritual music, the Divine Steps Festival will host a series of charity harbour-side walks, raising funds for The Can Too Foundation and Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off the Streets. Registrations are now open and everyone is welcome to sign-up for the 3km walkathon to raise much-needed funds for the vulnerable individuals supported by both these great charities.
There will also be fun activities for kids throughout the day including turban tying, henna art and jumping castles, as well as free health check-ups, a community kitchen providing free food and refreshments and an exhibition of Guru Nanak’s life and philosophy.
The highlight of the event will be the arrival of a team of cyclists completing a 238-km charity ride from Canberra and a grand contemporary performance by world-renowned musician Dya Singh.