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Diamond in the Rough

From humble beginnings, the Katherine Junk Festival has evolved into a celebration of arts, culture and music. Now in its 10th year, with multiple, hotly contested categories in the Junk Sculpture competition, plus 1700 visitors expected to attend, it’s a far cry from the single prize, 30 person affair it began as.

By Kate Conway

Entries can be created using anything, from egg cartons to repurposed car parts or washing machines, and over the years, the festival has seen all sorts of weird and wonderful art projects come through the gates. According to Katherine Regional Arts’ Jacinta Mooney, it is the environmental impact that remains at the core of the festival.

‘The whole idea behind it is to think about how we waste and encourage people to reduce what they buy. We have a long way to go, but I do think that the Junk Festival has helped foster a greater awareness of our environment,” she says.

‘The threat to Katherine has become more apparent with very poor wet seasons and planting of cotton. We have been on water restrictions on numerous occasions over the last few years, and those things combined I think have influenced people to think, ‘yes maybe we are vulnerable’.”

The festival proudly practices what they preach, adopting a zero waste policy with no single use plastics, and purchases carbon credits to offset festival emissions. All while having a good time doing it!

This year, popular band Blekbala Mujik rocks the stage, and the charismatic character that is Constantina Bush is on the mic as compère for the festivities. As well as some local flavour, staying true to the festival's grass roots, community feel.

“Corrugated Iron [Youth Arts] have been working with kids out at Binjari and Rockhole communities, outside of Katherine, and will perform circus skills wearing junk inspired outfits.”

If this were a wedding anniversary, the traditional gift for a 10-year milestone is tin – or a diamond if you’re modern (and fancy!). How fitting for a festival quite literally turning trash into treasure?

Round up the crew and head along to this cherished event. Or better yet, get those creative juices flowing and enter a junk sculpture yourself. You never know, you just may create a diamond in the rough…

Katherine Junk Festival

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