As the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend, it will also welcome back a special guest to the line-up of the iconic South West event. Aboriginal elder Dr Richard Walley OAM, one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performers, musicians and writers, will return to the festival once again on Saturday. Dr Walley will help officially open the festival with an Acknowledgement of Country in the morning and will also be part of a group of performers hitting the main stage with live music and dancing in the afternoon and evening. Dr Walley said he had nothing but high praise for Manjimup and the festival. “I’ve been there a couple of times before and I’ve loved it every time,” he said. “It’s a great festival, the people of Manjimup are fantastic people, that area has got some real good energy and vibes. “Also the organisers are just wonderful people, it’s just a good festival all around ... it’s just so well designed. I’m looking forward to being back there.” Dr Walley said he had formed a new performing group specifically for this year’s festival. “What we’ve done is combined a number of Celtic musicians with my group and we’ve come up with this Celtic-Aboriginal fusion,” he said. “We’ve got the bodhran, which is a Celtic drum, with the piano accordion as well as conventional instruments, slide and bass guitar, keyboards and then the didgeridoos, the music sticks, all combined into this fusion and it’s a nice fusion, they complement each other beautifully.” Dr Walley will also conduct a pair of workshops on the day to teach stories and dance movements to help people participate during their performances. Festival committee chair Pam Bodsworth said it was an “absolute privilege” to have Dr Walley return to the festival. “It’s really special that Dr Walley will be coming back to the festival in 2021 and helping us celebrate our 20th anniversary,” she said.