The Darwin Festival will offer a diverse and dynamic program including circus acts and live music
While other state blockages have resulted in some adjustments to the program, the Darwin Festival which takes place from 5e – 22sd August will feature a mix of incredible concerts, cabaret and circus, cross-cultural collaborations and epic outings for the whole family.
The old show business adage that “the show must go on” has never been more relevant than when a major arts festival puts on a program amid interstate outbreaks of COVID-19 and border restrictions in constant evolution. Darwin Festival organizers and artists have gone to great lengths to ensure the Festival program remains as vibrant as originally intended with new performances added to the lineup and some interstate artists entering mandatory quarantine .
Darwin Festival Artistic Director Felix Preval notes that “our festival is just days away, and we couldn’t be more proud of what it is designed to be.
“Lockdowns in other states meant we had to make last minute changes to the program. But we’ve added some amazing new shows including Club Briefs, Sycco, and Confidence Man, along with additional performances from popular shows like Karen From Finance, Radiohead for Solo Piano, and Oliver Twist.
“We are incredibly grateful to be able to put on another fantastic festival and give the Territorial the opportunity to celebrate life in the Top End.”
NT Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles said the NT government supports the Darwin Festival “as one of the most anticipated events on the calendar, bringing together territorials and visitors in droves.
“The team has done a sensational job bringing together such a diverse and interesting program despite the logistical challenges of the pandemic.
“There is always so much to see and do at this event, and this year is no different.”
Highlights of the festival for the first week:
FIRST NATIONS SHOWCASE OPENING WEEKEND
The Darwin Festival opens Festival Park a day earlier, Thursday August 5, so the public can celebrate the start of the festival with a bit of fun on day one, including a screening of Club Briefs (August 5 and 7) at the ‘INPEX Sunset Stage. This is a wild variety show and something that will really kick off the Festival experience, alongside some great live music from local artists.
The annual Country to Couture textiles and fashion design showcase (August 4) and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (August 3) demonstrate why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion is so popular right now.
Following the opening night, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (August 6-8) goes live this year, offering the opportunity to ethically purchase artwork directly from over 70 owned art centers. to natives.
The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) (August 6, 2021 – February 6, 2022) are Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Designed by New Zealand artist Tiffany Singh, Fly Me Up To Where You Are (August 5-22) is a large-scale installation at Darwin Waterfront where 3,000 Darwin students painted unique dream flags with personal designs speaking about their hopes for the future, with common themes including global issues like COVID 19 and Black Lives Matter for the environment and the family.
Blurring the line between cutting edge technology and live performance, Truthmachine (August 12-15) is an intimate, playful and intriguing theatrical experience for an adventurous audience not afraid to take a lie detector test in front of a room full of strangers.
Melbourne artist JOF and a guest group of young Darwin dwellers invite rave-ready audiences in a shipping container to Festival Park for the best dance party of their lives – the only catch is that there are only 10 minutes to dance like no one is watching. And will you dance at the 10 Minute Dance Parties (August 12-15)!
The festival’s newest outdoor venue, the INPEX Sunset Stage, hosts an epic lineup of contemporary music throughout the festival. Some of the artists who performed at the Sunset Stage in the first week included young singer-songwriter Miiesha (August 6); Alice Springs Red Desert’s evocative supergroup, Endless Sky: Songs from the Center (August 8); and eight-time Golden Guitar and 2020 ARIA Country Album Award winner Fanny Lumsden (August 8).
The Railway Club will once again offer a feast of live musical talent every Friday and Saturday evening of the Festival. Head to the rails on the first weekend to see the likes of classic and cosmic Grace Cummings (August 6) and psychedelic Slowmango (August 7).
To keep the good vibes going and party late into the night, every Friday and Saturday night of the Festival, audiences can tune in at Club Awi with megastar DJs from across the country (and across the country. ditch), spinning tracks late into the night under the stars on the INPEX Sunset stage.
Unsung (August 11-12) is a rousing and boisterous celebration of 1960s Australian songs and stories by Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan. This uplifting and nostalgic cabaret hour pays homage to the women who blazed the trail for generations to come.
Acclaimed musician and famous musical comedian, Selina Jenkins presents Boobs (August 6-8), a revolutionary show of breast proportions. This fiercely personal cabaret experience is filled with expertly written songs and thought-provoking anecdotes.
Generations clash in I’ve Been Meaning To Ask You (August 6-8), as 16 brave performers ages 9-13 from Darwin’s Corrugated Iron Youth Arts take the stage, and power, for an exciting hour difficult questions and truths at home.
Dance artist and storyteller Joel Bray brings dad to this year’s festival (August 6-8) – hilarious and heartfelt, this unique work uses participation to unbox themes from the artists’ lives, including his Wiradjuri heritage, his father, growing up gay and addicted to sugar.
Ilbijerri Theater Company’s Heart is a Wasteland (August 11-15) combines First Peoples storytelling with live music in a whiskey-fueled love story that takes place on the road from Darwin to Alice.
Darwin audiences love to laugh and this year the Festival presented the first week with Karen From Finance. Fresh off a starring tour on Drag Race Down Under, Karen Sashays in the Northern Territory with Out of Office (August 11-12) and Australia’s favorite Venezuelan Ivan Aristeguieta presents his hilarious new show, Piñata ( August 6-7)
The popular Darwin City Teddy Bear Picnic returns to the Esplanade for a Sunday morning filled with free shows, activities and delicious food (August 8).
The local Darwin Tracks Dance Company offers a world premiere at the base of a Rain Tree in the lush George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Seasons of Skin and Bark (August 8-16) presents a haunting response to the local tropical environment, exploring the emerging science of plant life intelligence.
Classical music lovers should look no further with the Darwin Festival featuring a lineup of unique live concerts. Bizet’s iconic opera Carmen comes to life at Darwin Entertainment Center (August 6-7) in a vibrant new production featuring singers from Opera Australia, a live chamber orchestra and community children’s choir of Darwin.
After Distanced Duets’ huge success at Festival 2020, intimate chamber music performances return with Distanced Duets 2.0 (August 10-19). Presenting an eclectic program of duets in the breathtaking setting of Audit House, it will be a moving listening experience like no other.
Listen to all of Radiohead’s most expensive tracks like never before with Radiohead for Solo Piano (August 11) where pianist and YouTube sensation Josh Cohen takes the band’s catalog to new frontiers – an additional performance has just been added due to popular demand.
WORDS & IDEAS
Festival favorite, SPUN (August 10) returns with another evening of real-life stories in the Northern Territory. For its 20th live-action storytelling event, SPUN: After Dark has gone into the shadows to find a special selection of untold stories by storytellers who aren’t afraid of the dark.
This year, the Darwin Festival presents two powerful and compelling films from Canada that shine a light on the world from the perspective of First Nations and refugees. Memory Box (August 9) is a poignant Canadian-Lebanese-French drama in which the lives of three women are linked by a resurfacing box containing notebooks, photographs and audio tapes.
For the festival program, go to darwinfestival.org.au/
August 17, 2020 – The Darwin Festival 2020 breaks a sales record despite the Coronavirus
July 9, 2020 – The Darwin Festival 2020 unveils the DF20 Homegrown program
May 20, 2020 – Darwin Festival modified to be a local celebration of strength and resilience
August 20, 2019 – Darwin Festival sets 40-year record for ticket sales
August 11, 2018 – NT WorkSafe to investigate fireworks injuries to Darwin Festival worker
June 9, 2016 – Council sacked but the Darwin Festival 2016 will take place “as planned”
May 5, 2015 – Enta joins forces with the Darwin Festival
August 3, 2021 – OzAsia Festival 2021 will be an important showcase for Australian talent of Asian descent
July 28, 2021 – Unvaccinated Australians could be banned from festivals, theaters, and sports and entertainment venues
July 28, 2021 – Adelaide Festival Center upgrades ticketing service from BASS to Ticketek
July 19, 2021 – Australian Chamber Music Festival 2021 canceled due to COVID
July 9, 2021 – The Adelaide Guitar Festival 2021 begins this weekend marking its return as an annual event
July 8, 2021 – Three-Day Big Red Bash Music Festival Sees Record Attendance
June 27, 2021 – Tina Arena appointed artistic director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022
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