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Mahbilil Festival

Celebrate cultural diversity and take a trip to Jabiru for the Mahbilil Festival.

By Tierney White

In the Kakadu region, the year is broken into six seasons, and Mahbilil – formerly known as the Wind Festival – is held in the Gurrung season, which runs from late August to early September. During this time of year, the afternoon breeze (Mahbilil) rises, and magpie geese fly in flocks across the wetlands to lay their eggs. The Gurrung season is all about re-birth and regeneration, after the season prior when the country was burnt and cleansed.

The Mahbilil Festival runs from noon to midnight and includes the coveted Gurrung Sports Carnival, where sports teams spanning the Top End compete. Offering a range of activities – including workshops for the kids, rides, displays, painting, Indigenous art exhibitions and demonstrations – the festival is a welcome environment for all of the family.

Festival Producer, Scott Large, says the festival unites a large cross-section of the cultures that make up Jabiru. “It combines traditional Indigenous culture with contemporary culture, celebrating our commonalities with Kakadu culture. Kakadu is actually on the World Heritage list, so it’s an amazing thing for people to be able to get away for the weekend. The road is bitumen all the way making the festival accessible; you can go camping, do a bit of sightseeing, and top it off with a gorgeous festival.”

If you fancy some bush tucker, you can’t miss the chance to sample barramundi, buffalo, and the region’s specialty, magpie goose, all cooked in a large earth oven (gungarre). You can also try your hand at spear throwing, didgeridoo, kite-making and flying, and cooking magpie goose.

Upon sunset, the festival transforms into a cultural arts hub, with dynamic light projections, music and dance. Featuring diverse bands, the evening’s entertainment is sure to make you get up and groove. Traditional Indigenous sounds are infused with traditional and modern dance styles – and you can’t miss the elaborate fire show performed by local young people.

Take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate traditional and contemporary cultural diversity, in a world class location.





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