Darwin Festival 2021 is set to open with a celebratory meeting place of dance, song and ritual

Photo: Jacob Nash

Darwin comes alive each August when Darwin Festival takes over the city. And this year from 5 –22, we’re excited to be welcoming everyone back – locals and interstate guests – to celebrate our uniquely Australian art and culture with 18 hot August nights.

Our opening weekend of events highlights Darwin as the beating heart of First Nations culture in Australia. Whether it’s art, music or fashion that you love, we have a huge program of world-class experiences that shine a spotlight on the contemporary and the timeless in First Nations’ creativity.

It all kicks off on Thursday 5 August with Darwin Festival’s huge opening night concert extravaganza, proudly supported by SANTOS. This free, open-air event will see The Amphitheatre at George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens transformed into a meeting place of dance, song and ritual with Buŋgul; a celebration of the music and culture of Gurrumul and the people of North East Arnhem Land. Experience the traditional songs, dances and paintings that inspired Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow), in a live performance by Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

Created on country in North East Arnhem Land with the Yunupiŋu family, Buŋgul is a ceremonial celebration of one of the transcendent albums of our time. In Gurrumul’s honour his family have added a further cultural and immersive visual dimension to his sublime music, performing the songlines that have forged their identity and every aspect of their existence since the beginning of time. As co-director Don Wininba Ganambarr explains it, ‘Yolngu don’t have books or computers. They carry it here (in the heart) in their song, their dance, their paintings.’

Eveyone’s invited to be part of Buŋgul, the perfect celebration to get the 2021 Darwin Festival party started.

There is so much to see, hear, taste and experience at Darwin Festival, including the very best in contemporary First Nations art and culture inspired by millennia on this land. We’ll have a sneak peak to release on Thursday 6 May with the full program launched on Thursday 18 June. Come and join us this August and explore a winter wonderland – tropical Top end style!

Santos Opening Night Concert
Buŋgul  – Gurrumul’s Mother’s Buŋgul, Gurrumul’s Grandmother’s Buŋgul, Gurrumul’s Manikay

Where: The Amphitheatre, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
When: Thu 5 Aug 7.30pm