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Barunga Festival

Barunga Festival's music line-up is notorious for drawing crowds, but two other major elements that make up the festivities are the sports and cultural programs.

They present the opportunity for visitors from neighbouring communities, to come together and share ideas, knowledge and stories.

Festival co-ordinator Brad Firebrace says there is a focus this year to bring the balance back between the three prongs of the festival.

“The music program has out-balanced the other elements so we’re really concentrating on the cultural side of things this year,” he says.

Dancers from Ngukurr, Groote and as far as Derby are headed to the festival this year, and rangers from all over Arnhem Land will gather to share their knowledge about caring for country and to give insight on how they look after it.

“We’re also working with the Barunga kids to open the Festival with their dance,” Firebrace says.

“It’s really important to not only keep the traditions and culture alive for Aboriginal Australia, but to recognise the festival as the perfect stage for these communities to share their song and dances for people outside of the Territory.

"It’s an opportunity for visitors to participate and to get a better outlook on remote community life.”

And, as expected, the music program is a solid 10 with the likes of Wagilak and the Australia Art Orchestra, Mambali Band, Nabarlek Band, and family favourite Justine Clarke. Tickets include camping fees and festivalgoers are encouraged to bring along their swimmers for a cool dip in the croc-free river nearby. That’s right. Croc. Free.

Click here for the event listing.

Photo: Francisco Bunduck, Red Sunset Band. Duane Preston

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