Darwin Festival Wraps Up with a Historic Milestone

Darwin Festival 2023 (10-27 August) has drawn to a close, marking the end of another magnificent celebration of arts, culture, and entertainment in the NT.  

Not only did the festival offer an unparalleled line-up of events this year, it also achieved an historic landmark. With over 50,000 tickets sold, Darwin Festival has witnessed its most successful year in its illustrious 44-year history. 

Spanning a dynamic array of 81 events with 323 free and ticketed performances across 30 venues, the festival showcased the talent of a staggering 858 artists. Impressively, 501 of these artists hail from the Northern Territory, reflecting the festival’s deep-rooted commitment to celebrating local talent.  

CEO James Gough said, “It’s heartening to see Darwin Festival grow year after year, but this year, our community and visitors brought a new energy, ultimately contributing to a hugely successful Festival we are proud of. Surpassing 50,000 tickets sold is a monumental achievement. Our decision to expand our footprint into Festival Lawn was met with great delight and the extension of the festival dates into September with hits like Blanc de Blanc Encore and Maho Magic Bar was all due to the public’s response to the Festival this year. This wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team, artists, volunteers, partners, and, of course, the audiences who make it all worthwhile.” 

Artistic Director Kate Fell said, “This year’s festival was not just about quantity but also the sheer quality and diversity of our program. From the very first event to the last, audiences responded with boundless enthusiasm. It was an invitation to locals and visitors to immerse themselves in Top End arts and culture, to come together as a community and to share in many magical moments.   

The festival’s triumph is evident with a remarkable number of sold-out shows; half the ticketed performances sold out, with 126 performances that completely booked out. The diverse range of performances, spanning heart-stopping cabaret acts, immersive theatre, live music, mesmerising magic, side-splitting comedy, and captivating contemporary dance, all played a pivotal role in weaving the vibrant tapestry of Darwin Festival 2023.  

Board Chair Chris Osborne said, “The numbers are just a part of the story. Behind each ticket is an individual, a story, an experience. This year, more than ever, we’ve seen and felt the community’s connection with the festival. The board would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our sponsors for their support, and in helping us deliver a festival the community can be proud of.” 

As the sun sets on this year’s festival, preparations are already underway for the next edition. Darwin Festival 2024 is set to be held from 8-25 August, promising another year of unforgettable experiences.