The Barunga Festival is in its 31st year and this year will be highlighting the role, influence and importance of women in community life. and will feature a strong line-up of events, activities and local and national performers to showcase the talented and unique women in all of our communities. The festival happens in June at Barunga community 70kms south-east of Katherine on the Central Arnhem Road, in the glorious Northern Territory dry season.
The festival is one of the most important community festivals in regional Australia and is, this year, headlined by Courtney Barnett and hosted by Myf Warhurst. Other confirmed acts include: Wildflower, Kardajala kirri-darra,. Eleanor Dixon, B2M, Courtney Barnett and Jen Clohe, Serina Pech and Justine Clarke.
Clarke is an actor, singer and TV host who visited the community earlier this year to meet with the teachers and students and find songs that resonated with them. Clarke is a popular children’s entertainer, and her involvement in the festival draws on this talent “The festival is very family focussed so my job is to provide music for kids and families in the mornings before the heat of the day hits,” she says. “I am singing my songs but also including some Kriol songs that the kids sing at Barunga school and I’m crossing my fingers they will get up on stage with me as the songs belong to them.”
Barunga highlights the importance of a strong indigenous music scene and is significant because it brings together the vibrant music, dance, art and sporting culture within Barunga and surrounding communities from the Katherine region. This becomes a celebration of local communities and beyond with the message being one of hope and discovery. It’s a great opportunity to be exposed to the very positive aspects of community life,” says Clarke. “I hope discussions will involve lots of listening.”
The Festival has a strong history of showcasing the Katherine region and supporting remote indigenous communities to come together and celebrate the positive and diverse aspects of community life through football, basketball, softball, music (contemporary and traditional), traditional arts and culture. It offers a wonderfully enriching and truly fulfilling experience for all and the festival encourages families.
Festival-goers can camp under the stars, enjoy everything from Indigenous rock bands to a game of Australian Rules football, or join in a traditional dance ceremony. Barunga Festival is an alcohol and smoke free, family-focused event with a healthy food policy.
“It’s a unique opportunity to really engage and celebrate with and within a remote Indigenous community in the most positive way,” says Clarke. “Spear throwing, basket weaving, didgeridoo making, 25 different bands from across the territory, basketball, football, the list goes on. This is an aboriginal sports and arts festival that is family focussed and welcomes everybody to come and enjoy the very best of cultural life in the Katherine region. I can’t wait to get there quite frankly!”
June 10 – 12