Darwin Festival Unveils DF20 Homegrown Program

Image: Darwin Festival's Artistic Director Felix Preval and Aunty Bilawara Lee celebrate DF20 Homegrown program announcement. Photo by Duane Preston

Darwin Festival returns as Australia’s hottest winter arts festival with DF20 Homegrown (Thursday 6 — Sunday 16 August). A reimagined event showcasing the Top End’s very best, this year’s Festival program is brimming with exciting live and online events sure to help you re-enter the world in style!

The festivities kick off in Festival Park on Thursday 6 August with an opening night concert, Housewarming supported by Santos, launching attendees into a fabulous weekend of digital and physical offerings. The free celebration will feature a stellar line-up of local talent, including a performance from Gary Lang’s celebrated NT Dance Company, and musicians Eric Avery, Mandy Garling and Hotel Red, and more. Capacity is limited, so come along early to secure a spot and enjoy a range of food and drink available onsite.

National audiences will be able to get in on the fun with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and the National Indigenous Music Awards both going virtual for the very first time, as well as award ceremonies for the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA) and the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards, also available online.

The brand-new Sunset Stage at Festival Park is the place to catch all the hottest homegrown acts — from storytelling with SPUN, to stunning musical performances from the Top End’s best, including: Caiti BakerSerina Pech, and Stevie Jean in Settle Down Sisters; Arnhem Land all-stars, Yilila and Ripple Effect Band; as well as huge album launches from Kuya James and David Garnham and the Reasons to Live, just to name a few.

The program also includes an array of intimate and unexpected experiences, including the provocative and insightful Sex and Death (and the Internet); a close encounter over a bespoke cocktail in Love Me Bar(Tender); and top local comedy. There’s also lots of family fun to be had, including the City of Darwin Teddy Bears’ Picnic, now at Festival Park.

Darwin Festival Artistic Director Felix Preval says, “We at Darwin Festival pride ourselves on showcasing the best talent the NT has to offer, and this year is no exception. We have reimagined the scale and scope of this year’s festival to deliver something special and unique for 2020. This year has provided an exciting opportunity to get back to our roots and program a local line-up with our DF20 Homegrown program, in which old friends find new ways of making magic!


Our 2020 Festival program features a line-up of Top End superstars, spanning 48 eclectic events across over 10 Darwin venues. Get pumped for fresh musical collaborations, intriguing theatre and dance performances, roaringly funny comedy and cabaret, stunning backyard concerts, and experimental music from dusk till dawn.”

Acting CEO James Gough added, “Our top priority has, and always will be, ensuring the health and safety of everyone attending Darwin Festival. As such, we’ve worked tirelessly with the Department of Health to ensure DF20 Homegrown is a celebration that fits into this different world we live in.

We strongly encourage all patrons to exercise COVID-safe principles at the Festival – wash your hands, practice physical distancing and download the COVID-safe app. There will be a limited capacity to Festival Park however, entry is guaranteed for those who buy a ticket to a Sunset Stage show for that night. So, book early to secure your night of fun!”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss MLA said, “Every Dry, Darwin Festival lights up the CBD. This year, thanks to the initiative of the Darwin Festival team, the reimagined ‘homegrown’ show will go on.

“The NT Government is proud to support the iconic Darwin Festival as it provides incredible opportunities for local artists and contributes to the liveability of the Territory for Territorians.

“This year will look and sound a little different as we focus on our amazing local talent and welcome back some of our iconic events, like the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and the National Indigenous Music Awards in a virtual setting. The Sunset Stage sessions at Festival Park will be sure to entertain festival goers with some of the Territory’s best talent.

“With the announcement of our borders safely opening on 17 July, we also encourage interstate visitors to head to Darwin to experience a world class showcase of local talent.”

Tickets for Darwin Festival are on sale from Thursday 9 July 2020.

Darwin Festival is proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government and City of Darwin.

Matt Fraser matt@originalspin.com.au
P: 02 8065 7363 M: 0401 326 007