NAFA returns to Townsville for COVID-safe edition

Date published: 17 August 2020

Townsville’s premier arts and cultural festival is back for a special COVID-safe edition next month.

The North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) COVID Safe will be delivered by Townsville City Council, with support from Queensland Government, for small crowd numbers across various sites to activate the local events and tourism industry, celebrate the arts, reconnect communities and assist in the city’s economic recovery.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville was well-placed as Northern Australia’s events hub.

“NAFA COVID Safe will follow the Supercars doubleheader and the highly-anticipated Horn v Tszyu fight, which will attract visitors from across the state to our city,” Cr Hill said.

“Our hospitality and tourism industries have struggled with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, so having these events in the city is a real boost for our hoteliers, restauranteurs, and tourism operators.

“NAFA COVID Safe will only add to the momentum, bringing visitors from across the state into our city to enjoy a selection of arts and culture across five weeks.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said events like the North Australian Festival of Arts would play an important role in the state’s economic recovery.

“Major events like this pump thousands of dollars back into the local businesses, support local jobs and help to rebuild our economy,” Ms Jones said.

“This event will deliver a great boost for local businesses at a time when everyone is doing it tough.

“The Townsville region is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit and NAFA gives visitors another reason to book a trip.

“Only the Palaszczuk Government has a plan to rebuild our economy and create local jobs. Events like this that support local businesses and local jobs are crucial to that strategy.”

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson, Ann-Maree Greaney, said NAFA was an extremely important part of the fabric of the local arts community.

“Townsville is the arts capital of Northern Australia, and we want to celebrate that despite the setbacks that the COVID-19 pandemic has foisted on the arts sector,” Cr Greaney said.

“Supporting the local arts community during this difficult time is important, and there’s no better way to do that than to hold NAFA COVID Safe. This reimagined version of NAFA will give Townsville a reason to celebrate safely after a stressful start to the year.

“It’s important that everybody who attends NAFA COVID Safe sticks to the rules, continues to physically distance from others, and practices good hygiene. We’re all in this together, so we all need to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Cr Greaney said this year’s program would include modified versions of festival favourites.

“The Wonderland Spiegeltent team has reconceptualised its approach to embrace being COVID-safe and will transform Strand Park into the open-air spectacle Wonderland Under the Stars,” she said.

“NAFA COVID Safe will also include the new event Art in the Park, which will combine facilitated art workshops with live performances.”

Cr Greaney said she was proud to announce that NAFA would be presenting an internationally renowned multimedia exhibition, Beauty Rich and Rare.

“I am very excited that Townsville will host Beauty Rich and Rare, an exhibition which has just been shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,” she said.

“Beauty Rich and Rare recreates the wonder experienced by Joseph Banks and the botanists, scientists, and illustrators who travelled on the HMB Endeavour from England to Australia 250 years ago.”

NAFA COVID Safe will run from 18 September to 25 October.

For more information about NAFA COVID Safe, head to the NAFA website.