CULTURE, feature -

Barunga all set to light up the Territory

Aboriginal musicians Bunna Lawrie and Coloured Stone, singer-songwriter Missy Higgins and actress and singer Justine Clarke will be among the line-up at the Northern Territory’s Barunga Festival to be held in June.

The annual three-day event attracts thousands of people from around the world to the remote Barunga community, about 80km south-east of Katherine, for a celebration of music, sport and culture.

More than 15 bands from the NT, including B2M and The Lonely Boys, will join visiting artists on the main stage.

Clarke will perform with students from the Barunga School, while Coloured Stone will celebrate its 40-year anniversary.

There will be a wide range of activities available for festival goers, including a disco coordinated by the Barunga Beats hip hop program.

More than 45 sporting teams from across the NT, East Kimberley, Queensland and Central Australia will also compete in Aussie Rules, basketball and softball competitions.

With culture an important part of the Barunga experience, the festival will be a chance to learn traditional dance, spear-throwing, didgeridoo playing, weaving, damper-making and storytelling.

Barunga school students will lead tours of their community and the surrounding bush.

The event has a healthy food policy and a range of cuisines will be on offer. Drugs, smoking and alcohol will not be permitted.

A road safety short film competition will also be held in communities in the lead-up to the festival, with shortlisted films screened on the main stage.

The Barunga festival became part of Australian history in 1988 when former Prime Minister Bob Hawke was presented with two paintings and a text calling for Indigenous rights, which became known as the Barunga Statement.

The statement called for a treaty with Indigenous people and inspired the Yothu Yindi anthem Treaty.

  • Barunga will be held on June 9-11. Tickets are from Moshtix or at the gate. Admission prices range from $50 for an adult to $5 for children aged 5-11.

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