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Looking to the Future

After a hugely successful homegrown Festival last year, Darwin Festival returns to transform Civic Park – and much of D-Town – into a twinkling wonderland of music, arts, dancing, food and culture.

With a bold and ambitious program that celebrates First Nations voices, brimming with innovative cross-cultural collaborations, there’s something for everyone to love from the smorgasbord of events in this year’s exciting program.

Artistic Director Felix Preval says a real highlight is the diversity of voices and stories being showcased.

“I’m really pleased to be bringing projects that celebrate First Nations voices, the voices of young people, the stories of asylum seekers – such an incredible diversity of narratives that speak to the beautiful, complex tapestry that is contemporary Australian life,” he says.

Capturing the voices of young people has emerged as one of the key themes this year. Fly Me Up To Where You Are features 3,000 dream flags created by students across Darwin in a colourful canopy, reflecting everything from concerns about the environment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We are looking to the future, and we think a way to actualise that is to put young people on stage and to hear what they have to say,” explains Preval.

In current times, looking ahead is more important than ever, but it can also come with some challenges. The Festival, however, has drawn strength from the rapidly changing environment. Last year’s homegrown program, for instance, allowed the Festival to focus on local talent.

“Darwin is small … but we are so culturally rich. It’s exciting to imagine working with the local sector towards bigger and better things,” Preval explains.

In 2020, much-loved classic festival venue The Lighthouse was subbed out for the Sunset Stage – an optimal music and dance space, with a bigger audience capacity. Recognising its potential, and how much of a hit it was, it’s back in 2021 much to the delight of Festival-goers.

“The purpose was to create some extra space and it’s ended up sticking as a really amazing space in itself,” explains Darwin Festival CEO James Gough.

With a huge swag of musical talent set to hit the new stage, as well as cabaret, live storytelling and, of course, Club Awi, we’re looking forward to some hot August nights dancing under the stars!

Darwin Festival

Header and thumbnail: Electric Fields. Photo: Elise Derwin

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