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Desert Song Festival

CENTRAL AUSTRALIA IS a melting pot of diversity and culture that oozes talent in the arts. Songwriters, storytellers and musicians represent just some of the threads that weave through this already rich place, adding to the vibrancy of the desert’s cultural tapestry.

By Hannah Muir

For its tenth year in a row, the Desert Song Festival proudly showcases the multicultural community of music, song and instruments, and the people that connect them. With this year’s theme ‘climate action: our climate, our planet, our future’, acts have been encouraged to sing for the climate. Within the context of 60,000 years of human occupation of this country, the festival explores our connection to, and responsibility for, the environment.

In addition to the musical program, the festival includes a five-day climate and land symposium, with some of the world’s leading climate scientists participating in collaboration with Indigenous knowledge keepers. Festival Director Morris Stuart says this year’s program is packed with diversity.

“The festival will be a great coalescence of art and music, science and Indigenous knowledge,” he says.

The wisdom coming from our diversity is mirrored beautifully within the program, deliberately created this way by Morris.

“It’s Australia, it’s who we are. It’s all here, we just have to embrace it and nurture it and we will all benefit from it.”

The program features the Marilya Choir, an all-Indigenous female group in collaboration with Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl, Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos with violinist Monico Curro, and cultural visits to Ntaria. But, the highlight is expected to be the final event, Ormiston Big Day Out and A Cappella in the Gorge.

It’s hoped the varied program of events appeals to the diversity of our community.

“It’s a unique event, it’s very inclusive, and it tries to embrace everyone. It’s a place for families, it’s a place for individuals. We hope it’s a festival that celebrates our whiteness, our blackness, our straightness, our gay-ness, our humanity.”

Desert Song Festival

Photos: Emma Murray

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