Barunga Festival: A Cultural Playground
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Barunga Festival: Music, Sport and Culture
WATCH: A Day in the Barunga Festival, plus a trip to Bitter Springs and Katherine.
The Brunga Festival has been around for over 30 years, bringing strong local culture to the wider Australian people. It is one of the most important community festivals in regional Australia and because of the positive aspects the festival boasts thousands of visitors from nearby and remote communities; bringing them all together.
What to do at Barunga Festival?
Full to the brim with daily activities, sport, music, fun and food, the Barunga Festival is a chance to get out of the town and hang out with some other mobs. There are circus, cultural and kids activities, sport, music and dance, art and healthy food. There is also a beautiful, croc-free river to swim in onsite.
The festival every year attracts high-profile headlining acts as well as a whole bunch of local personalities. Past headliners have included John Butler, Courtney Barnett and Gurrumul. Jamming starts at sundown and continues until around 12am on Saturday and Sunday.
The communities play against each other in basketball, softball and a type of football called ‘Aussie Rules’. Competitors of all ages are welcome to compete and play for the title with games going on throughout the days on the festival grounds. There are also Didgeridoo playing and spear throwing competitions on the first and second days, which attract large crowds
During the opening ceremony and throughout the festival dancers will throw sand to the sky with their feet while dancing around on the sand pit that is located in front of the main stage. The opening ceremony is an eclectic mix of children and adults all dancing in their communities own traditional style, while creating an exciting frenzy of colour, style and interesting body movements.
Throughout the festival you’ll easily come across a multitude of cultural activities. There’s didgeridoo and spear making, damper and basket weaving, bush food workshops and more! Scattered about are also people making and selling their own traditional artwork.
When is Barunga Festival?
Every year on the Queens Birthday long weekend (around early to mid-June). Next years dates are 9-12th June 2017. The weather usually ranges between 10 and 30 degrees. Bring a jumper, sun protection and clothes to swim in.
Where is Barunga Festival?
Barunga is located 70 kms (40 min) south-east of Katherine and 390 kms (4 hrs) from Darwin. The entire road is sealed so 2WD friendly.
Camping is included in the price of the ticket and the campgrounds are vast. Bring stuff for a BBQ or make a fire pit in the ground. If you’re after a hotel, there are a number to be found in Katherine, or you could try Djakanimba Pavilions, which is only 30km from Barunga in the Beswick community.
Alcohol Tip: Barunga is a dry community, as is the festival. Respect this and don’t bring alcohol.
Place: Barunga, NT
Currency: Australian Dollars
$1 USD = $1.30
I was there: June 2016
Note: Thank you to Tourism NT for sponsoring part of my stay in the top end. Opinions are always my own.
What cultural activity would you like to try out at the Barunga Festival?