Darwin Symphony Orchestra heads bush for Barunga Festival

[by Mitch Fresta]


Image: DSO

In an Australian first, an entire symphony orchestra will head to a remote Indigenous community to collaborate with remote First Nations artists singing traditional songs at the famous Barunga Festival this June.


Maintaining its long and proud history as one of Australia’s most important cultural events, Barunga Festival celebrates the best of First Nations art, sport, dance, music and cultural activities. The 2020 event was due to be a celebration of its 35th anniversary until it’s unfortunate cancellation due to COVID-19. This year the return to the community and the importance of the event to the area will be celebrated like never before.

Held over three days, from Friday, June 11 to Sunday, June 13, 80 kilometers southeast of Katherine, Barunga will attract over 3000 people from across the Northern Territory and beyond. With an audience of over 65% First Nations attendees, the event has become an important and immersive experience for both First Nations Australians and travellers seeking genuine connections with Australia’s thriving cultural history.

The Darwin Symphony Orchestra will make the four hour drive down the Stuart Highway where they will join with Manuel Dhurrkay (Saltwater Band), Don Nunggarlu (Mambali), Jason Gurruwiwi, PHL The Beat Dancers and Galiwin’ku Youth Band live on stage. The orchestra will also join Maningrida’s Ripple Effect in a special collaborative performance-- the first time a Western orchestra has collaborated on-country with an all-female First Nations act.


The acoustic stage will host artists both Indigenous and non-Indigenous including Kankawa, Archer, Serina Pech, Emcille, Lena Kelli and more. Cross cultural dance will also be a key feature of the event with a Filipino-Australian dance group as well as the annual fashion parade and the famous Barunga Disco, the biggest social event for local young people in the year’s calendar.

Barunga will once again be the home of the Top End’s most ferocious sporting competition with teams from across the Top End and beyond competing in football, basketball and softball, while local traditional art will again be on display along with cultural practices including spear throwing, basket weaving and didgeridoo making.


The event has a healthy food policy, with a range of cuisines on offer as well as a 100% drug, smoke and alcohol-free policy to ensure the family spirit of the Barunga community is maintained.


Barunga is a real community, welcoming you to their home to celebrate all that is great about being Australian through their eyes. Whether you fly, drive or walk, all roads lead to Barunga this June and it will change the way you see Australia.

Tickets on Sale Now from http://barungafestival.com.au/


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