The Barunga Festival, one of Australia’s most important cultural events is proud to announce its 2018 program commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Barunga Statement from June 8 – 10.
Australia’s premier destination for Indigenous music, sport and culture, Barunga will again play a key role in the future of the nation as a meeting place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia to discuss Treaty.
As the birthplace of Bob Hawke’s Barunga Statement and the inspiration for Yothu Yindi’s iconic anthem, Barunga’s elders, all NT Land Councils plus national and territory politicians will advance discussion on progressive reconciliation measures, while the community comes together to celebrate the world’s oldest living culture.
The event attracts over 4000 people to the Northern Territory, showcasing the Katherine region in all its aesthetic and cultural beauty. With an audience of over 65% Indigenous attendees, the event has become an important and immersive experience for both Australians and travellers seeking a unique and real experience of Indigenous Australia.
The event will play host to Galiwin’ku’s Saltwater Band and dancers in a moving tribute to Gurrumul as well as the first Australian performance from Taiwanese artist Suming, bringing two proud Indigenous cultures together for the first time.
This year traditional dancers will take pride of place at the event, hailing back to the Barunga of old, with more than ten groups flying and driving in from all corners of the Territory, including Numbulwar’s Dhumbul Dancers, Rirritjingu Clan Dancers, Port Keats, Gumatj, Bulman and Beswick dancers.
This year’s all-Indigenous musical lineup will include talent from across Australia and beyond including Shellie Morris and Dhapanbal Yunupingu, Yirrmal (Yirrkala, NT), B2M (Tiwi Islands), Mambali (Numbulwar, NT), Tasman Keith (Bowraville NSW), Lonely Boys (Ngukurr, NT), Dewayne Everettsmith (Palawa , Tasmania), Ripple Effect (Maningrida, NT), Tjupi Band (Papunya, NT) and Black Rock Band. Discover the line-up now on the exclusive Barunga 2018 Spotify playlist here. Special guest Justine Clarke will again visit Barunga to collaborate and perform with the local kids.
Men & Women’s AFL, Softball and Basketball will again showcase the skills of both the top end’s finest athletes, alongside community competitions for the participation of families and communities of all ages and ability levels.
Culture is also an important pillar of the Barunga experience, with the festival offering a unique platform to pass on knowledge and experience both between generations and cultures. Audiences can engage in traditional dance, spear throwing, didgeridoo playing, weaving, damper making, storytelling and more. BARUNGA Junior Guides (Barunga School students) design and lead walking and bike tours of their community and the surrounding bush, providing an authentic Barunga insight as well as a unique learning experience for the students.
The event has a healthy food policy, with a range of cuisines on offer as well as a 100% drug, smoke and alcohol-free policy to ensure the family spirit of the Barunga community is maintained.
Barunga is a real community, welcoming you to their home to celebrate all that is great about being Australian through their eyes. Whether you fly, drive or walk, make sure Barunga is on your calendar this June and change the way you see Australia.
With more announcements still to come, Barunga is an experience not to be missed in 2018.
“The meaning of the word Barunga is ‘a happy place for families to live’, and that’s exactly what we want for the festival, a happy place for people to come and enjoy themselves.” Jamie Ahfat, Barunga Community Member
We had emerged early that day from campsites among the paperbarks and pandanus trees of Barunga’s bushland backyards. Some joined a Kriol language class by the river (”light Kriol” is primary among the seven first tongues spoken here) or watched a barefoot basketball game between teams from places such as Papunya, near Alice Springs, or Kununurra in Western Australia.
Kids spent the day in a fury of fun on a water slide and a climbing wall, while white women sat with a local woman, Diane, weaving baskets from pandanus fronds and marvelling at how long it took.
Nearby, in the sun, white men endeavoured to strip and sand termite-hollowed logs into didgeridoos under the watchful eye of Barunga local Jamie Ahfat. – Kate Hennessy – The Guardian