Darwin Festival organisers raise the bar with 2022 program

An exceptional program of performing and visual artists has been unveiled as part of the 2022 Darwin Festival, which kicks off on 4 August and runs until 21 August.

Hot off the press, this year’s festival program has something for everyone with music, theatre, comedy, dance, cabaret, visual arts and plenty of activities for families.

Darwin Festival Artistic Director Felix Preval there is so much to celebrate in this year’s program.

“Some of the incredible projects in this year’s Darwin Festival program have been in the works for years – delayed, postponed or imprisoned by the pandemic. Others are spilling hot from the lips of artists, responding to the present moment,” he said.

“Some bring stories thousands of years in the telling to Festival audiences for the very first time. All are as bold and urgent as anything we’ve presented.”

The Santos Opening Night Concert, free to the public, is an inspired ceremonial celebration of Aboriginal musician Gurrumul’s final album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow). Titled Buŋgul, the performance will transform Darwin Amphitheatre into a meeting place of dance, song and ritual involving Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

Indigenous culture is a key feature of this year’s festival which will also include the 16th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, National Indigenous Fashion Awards, National Indigenous Music Awards and premier visual arts events like the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards and events by Salon Art Projects.

A highlight this year is Balarr Inyiny, a spectacle of light that will illuminate the night sky as 160 drones take flight. This breathtaking choreographed sky show, led by Larrakia artist Jenna Lee, has no entry fee and will light up the coast of Darwin to share the ancient stories of place and Larrakia culture.

The festival will also present a work-in-progress piece in the form of Transmutation, a large-scale interactive installation being developed following the inaugural Transmitter: Darwin x Delhi 2021 artist lab.

Live music features prominently with Emma Donovan and The Putbacks, Arlo Parks, Jaguar Jonze, Alex The Astronaut, Confidence Man, Elsy Wameyo, Tropical F Storm and Ngaiire taking to the stage. Comic virtuoso Tim Minchin will make his Top End debut at the Darwin Amphitheatre as part of the festival.

There will be a range of theatre performances, including Meremere, an autobiographical multimedia dance work that follows the inspirational life of critically acclaimed dancer and performer Rodney Bell.

Festival audiences will be treated to an all-star comedy line-up with Dilruk Jayasinha, Vidya Rajan, Dane Simpson, Nath Valvo, Scout Boxall, Zoë Coombs Marr and Barnie Duncan set to take the stage.

Cabaret lovers will be spoiled for choice with presentation of numerous shows, like YUMMY ICONIC, Betty Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness Eat Sh!t and Yana Alana’s The Legend of Queen Kong.

Families will also be well looked after, with the much-loved City of Darwin Teddy Bears Picnic making its return this year.

Darwin Festival is supported by the Northern Territory Government through the Northern Territory Major Events Company.

Darwin Festival tickets go on sale tomorrow at 9am. For more information and to see the full program, head to www.darwinfestival.org.au.