Darwin Festival 2022 comes to a close
Darwin Festival 2022 (4-21 August) has drawn to a close following 18 glorious hot August nights. This
year’s electrifying program featured over 150 performances and 80 events spread across over 20
venues and showcased more than 400 artists from the NT, Australia and overseas.
More than 35,000 tickets were sold across the duration of the Festival, with 65% performances
completely sold out. Locals lapped up the Festival in true Territory style making up over 75% of ticket
buyers while visitors from interstate made up 23% of ticketholders.
“Our opening weekend celebrating the best in contemporary Indigenous arts practice was huge. It all
kicked off with our free Santos Opening Night Concert, Buŋgul, a ceremonial celebration of Gurrumul’s
final album that saw 5,000 people in attendance. There were also excellent attendances at
the National Indigenous Music Awards, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and the Telstra NATSIAAs
that same weekend,” said Artistic Director Felix Preval.
“Music best-sellers included Arlo Parks, Confidence Man, Heartland featuring William Barton and
Véronique Serret and Tim Minchin, who performed in Darwin for the very first time to a huge crowd
of over 4,500 people at the Amphitheatre.”
“We delivered numerous sold-out theatre and cabaret shows, including YUMMY ICONIC, Betty
Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness Eat Sh!t, Finucane & Smith’s Travelling Dance Hall, The Boy Who
Talked To Dogs and Maureen: Harbinger of Death.”
“Darwin loves to have a laugh and comedic acts from the likes of Tom Gleeson with Hard Quiz Live,
Steven Oliver, Lou Wall, Vidya Rajan and Dane Simpson played to packed houses.”
“Free events also drew large numbers, with family favourite City of Darwin Teddy Bears’ Picnic
attracting over 4,000 people. The Festival closed with balarr inyiny, an epic spectacle of light,
movement and sound, where 160 synchronised drones took to the sky to transform the coastline with
ancient stories of place and Larrakia culture. It was a truly breathtaking experience.”
“The beating heart of Darwin Festival is, of course, Festival Park, where families, friends and Festivalgoers
gathered each night to relax in the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy free entertainment and fine
food. An estimated 45,000 visitors enjoyed Festival Park across 15 balmy nights this year which is a
new record on all prior years.”
“After six incredible years as Artistic Director of Darwin Festival, it’s been wonderful to go out with a
real bang. To see free community events Buŋgul and balarr inyiny play to capacity crowds, to have
interstate and international artists and visitors return, and for the program to be so well received has
been deeply gratifying.”
“I love this city. I love this Festival. It’s been a privilege to have worked closely with artists from across
the Northern Territory, to have commissioned local and national productions for Darwin’s delight and
to have brought so much incredible talent to experience this place. I’m leaving a changed person for
sure. I’m excited to see what my successor Kate Fell does for Darwin Festival, between her and James
and the great team I’m sure it will be fabulous,” said Preval.
Incoming Artistic Director Kate Fell joined the Festival celebrations this year, meeting her new team and Festival stakeholders, and immersing herself in the local community.
“I’ve had a fantastic time in Darwin for the Festival,” said Fell. “Darwin is such a special place, unlike any other in Australia. The arts scene here is wholly distinct, diverse and engaging. I’m very much looking forward to working with local artists and creating a Festival program the people of Darwin can continue to be proud of.”
Darwin Festival CEO James Gough said, “We’d like to thank Felix Preval for his dedication to the Festival. His passion for Darwin and consistent outstanding programming that has seen Darwin Festival cement itself as one of the hottest arts Festivals in Australia.”
“On behalf of Darwin Festival, I would also like to thank the Northern Territory Government for its strong, ongoing support, as well as our wonderful team, partners, suppliers, artists, volunteers and audiences, all of whom have contributed to the success of this year’s Festival,” Gough continued.
Darwin Festival 2023 will take place from 10-27 August.
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