• Written by Adam Giles

Darwin 6 August 2015. The 37th Darwin Festival kicks off today and offers a packed program full of arts, culture and entertainment that all Territorians can enjoy.


“The Darwin Festival is a key highlight on the FestivalsNT calendar and an important part of the Territory Government’s plan to have a greater focus on Asian engagement as we develop Northern Australia,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.


“This year the Northern Territory Government has provided funding of $1.32 million to support the festival, which boasts 160 events including outdoor concerts, workshops, theatre, dance music, comedy, cabaret, film and visual arts.


“To celebrate the opening of the Darwin Festival a free concert featuring Thelma Plum, Clare Bowditch, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks will be held tonight at the Amphitheatre at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens.”


Gates open at 5pm with the concert due to start at 6.30pm.


The Darwin Festival will also feature the world premiere stage production Prison Songs based on the documentary film Prison Songs screened on SBS earlier this year.


Set at Berrimah Prison, Prison Songs offers a rare glimpse into the lives of prison inmates shared through song. This multimedia concert experience features a stellar cast led by Shellie Morris and Ernie Dingo.


“The Northern Territory Government is also proud to sponsor the Indonesian dance performance Cry Jailolo that takes you underwater into the lives of the local population for a moving story that gives voice to a remote community,” Minister for Arts and Museums Gary Higgins said.


“Congratulations to the team at Darwin Festival, led by General Manager Mark Crees and Andrew Ross as Artistic Director for putting together an energetic and diverse program.  I want to also congratulate the board of the Darwin Festival and I would encourage people to get down to the ticket caravan in Smith St Mall and snap up some tickets.”

The Darwin Festival runs until Sunday 23 August and is part of the Territory Government’s FestivalsNT program and calendar of cultural and sporting events.

Not long after the Darwin Festival ends, Territorians also have the chance to enjoy Central Australia's premier arts and cultural festival, the Alice Desert Festival.

The Alice Desert Festival runs from 27 August to 6 September and includes art, performance, writing and music. It will feature acts including Markus Kuchenbuch, Ninja Circus, Sprung Youth Dance and Be Ward as well as many others.

The Northern Territory Government provides $180,000 in funding to the Alice Desert Festival through the Community Festivals funds.

To learn more about the ADF go to http://alicedesertfestival.com.au