Salt, Sea & Community
With its stunning cliffside ocean views, picturesque jetty and outdoor friendly lifestyle, many consider Nightcliff one of the most desirable suburbs in Darwin. Since 2004, Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival has heralded the beginning of the Dry, and celebrated the beating heart of this sweet seaside suburb.
By Kate Conway
This Month, after community dismay following last year’s event cancellation, the beloved festival is back in action.
Sprawling more than two kilometres, Seabreeze threads the Foreshore with over 16 stages and areas, showcasing everything from belly dancing to a three-on-three basketball competition, to comedy and circus acts. The eclectic mix of performances highlights the Top End’s unique and thriving culture of music, dance and visual arts.
For the first time, the 2023 Festival spans three glorious days. Festival Development Manager Tom Jones says organisers aimed to capture a new crowd, and moving from two to three days means the event is shaping up to be a biggie.
“We’re anticipating it to be a lot bigger than previously, the feedback from the community is excitement that it’s going to be over three days. People who work on Saturdays are excited they can still get along to enjoy a full day’s entertainment,” he says.
Proudly conducted as a waste wise event, with no single use plastics in sight, Festival attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, cups and cutlery, and travel via bicycle or catch a handy free bus. Roy Smith is Chair of the Nightcliff Art Music and Culture Inc Committee, and says sustainability is literally front and centre.
“We’re putting our waste right in the middle of the Festival, so everyone can see how we’re sorting it out, and we’ll have people standing at every bin to make sure that people do the right thing,” he says.
Maintaining Seabreeze’s strong ethos of community and inclusivity, the Community Village is back with local community groups, clubs and organisations setting up information stalls. The Ripple Effect stage is back, a speaker’s space with special guests, thought-provoking discussions and forums.
Whether it’s entering the popular Jetty Art Space or Sand Sculpture art prizes, or jumping on stage to sing, dance or act, the Festival sees over one thousand performers showcase creativity across over 100 performances. Jones says the grassroots community involvement is deeply inherent to the cherished event.
“There’s not many festivals where locals get such a presence, it’s about more than any one particular artist. I think it’s exciting that so many of the local artists get to have a go,” he says.
“There’s just something really special about the Seabreeze Festival. It’s so inclusive of local artists, the community and there’s such a good atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like it.”
Header: Photo: Paz Tassone