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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gurrumul, John Butler, cowboys and beanies headline the NT's festival season

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More than half of Australians identify the NT as a "bucket list" destination,[1] and the line-up for this year's Territory festival season make it the perfect time to tick the must-see location off the list.

Acclaimed singer songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu will headline the 2013 Barunga Festival along with one of Australia's most highly respected independent artists John Butler; the first of a string of events running from May that capture the unique personality and culture of the Territory.

The diverse line up of events range from local horse racing, rodeos and sheep shearing, to indigenous music and a celebration of the iconic Aussie beanie.

Event Coordinator for Barunga Festival, Michelle Wild, said Territory festivals like Barunga Festival offer visitors a chance to experience and embrace the local Indigenous cultures that the Territory embodies.

"This is the chance to connect and engage with the local Indigenous community," Ms Wild said. "These people are truly friendly and welcoming, opening their arms to outsiders during this special celebration".

One of the Territory's quirkiest cultural festivals, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, showcases the Territory's local crochet artists and the humble beanie as a regional art form. 

Event Coordinator, Jo Nixon commented, "It is heart-warming to see the following that the Beanie Festival has attracted since 1997. The festival provides a unique opportunity to admire the artistic handmade creations from local Territory residents and celebrate Aboriginal women's textiles."

The festival season is also the ideal time to enjoy the Territory's glorious outdoor lifestyle, with big blue skies and perfect weather throughout the Territory.

Festivals include:

·         Merrepen Festival (31 May - 2 June)
·         The Barunga Festival (7-10 June)
·         Finke Desert Race (8-10 June)
·         Brunette Downs Races (20-23 June)
·         Alice Springs Beanie Festival (21-24 June)

For more information about the NT and its festivals, visit 

Barunga Festival (7-10 June 2013) is one of the Northern Territory's most iconic and longest-running indigenous community festivals. Held over the Queen's Birthday long weekend in the remote Aboriginal community of Barunga, the festival showcases contemporary indigenous musicians from around the Territory along with artistic, cultural and sporting talent from the greater Katherine, Top End and Desert regions. This year's festival features the legendary Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, one of Australia's most unique Aboriginal music artists who will be joined by John Butler, Australia's most highly respected independent music artists. During the annual event, visitors are permitted to camp in the beautiful Barunga community to hear stories from local residents.

Brunette Downs Races (20-23 June 2013) takes place in the heart of the Northern Territory's Barkly Tableland at one of Australia's largest and most remote cattle stations, Brunette Downs. One of several cattle stations owned and operated by the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), Brunette Downs is host to an annual horse race featuring horses from local Territory stations and ridden by local Territory racers. Drawing in huge crowds and competitors, some of which travel thousands of kilometres to attend, each year the weekend offers a fun-filled program for the entire family containing almost every activity associated with horses and cattle. Brunette Downs Races offer the ultimate opportunity to experience the best of Australian culture from the heart of the country.

Alice Springs Beanie Festival (21-24 June 2013) is a quirky event that celebrates one of Australia's great icons, the beanie. A place where locals and visitors come to find the perfect beanie, with over 3,000 on display, the annual festival showcases Central Australian indigenous textiles including the famous Tjanpi baskets, batik, painted beads from Ernabella and demonstrations of traditional Pitjantjatjara spinning. It is a time to admire artistic creations from local Territory residents and an opportunity to share culture and skills. The festival also includes events such as the Beanie Olympics, a speed crochet event, story reading and crafts for kids.

[1] 2012 survey conducted for Tourism NT by Pure Profile

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