Council looks ahead to NAFA dates for next three years

Date published: 9 September 2020

The Townsville City Council North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) and Northern Fringe Festival are being planned for the next three years, with dates for the annual event presented at this week’s Community and Cultural Development Committee meeting.

The success of the first instalment of NAFA was calculated to have a $4 million injection into Townsville’s economy, which has propelled the event to continue until at least 2023.

The Committee has proposed NAFA and Northern Fringe Festival run from:

  • Friday 2 July 2021 – Sunday 1 August 2021
  • Friday 1 July 2022 – Sunday 31 July 2022
  • Friday 7 July 2023 – Sunday 6 August 2023

Mayor Jenny Hill said since adopting the Townsville Event Strategy in January this year, Council was committed to making Townsville the Event Capital of North Australia by attracting and building upon events in Townsville.

She said NAFA was now an acclaimed event and locking in future dates would help secure funding and support from major partners.

“NAFA 2019 is an Australian Event Industry Awards 2020 nominee, which is a huge outcome for the inaugural festival. This just goes to show that NAFA is a world-class event that can be enjoyed by everyone from art aficionados through to small children,” Cr Hill said.

“NAFA hosts huge names in entertainment including the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM), the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland, Queensland Ballet and Q Music. By securing dates up until 2023, NAFA will be able to collaborate with these partners well in advance, helping to create seamless programs.

“Locking in NAFA dates well in advance will also help give clarity to local arts organisations, which will help them plan their shows to either be part of NAFA or outside of that timeframe to help avoid clashes of venues, audiences and marketing.”

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said there were a number of factors taken into consideration when planning the upcoming NAFA dates.

“Our team has had a particularly close look at the weather, choosing dates that have the best chance of sunshine and cool temperatures. Townsville is always beautiful, but it’s at its most idyllic in the winter, making July and early August the best time to enjoy the outdoors,” Cr Greaney said.

“The proposed dates also take fringe festivals around the world into consideration. These dates are just after the Adelaide Fringe Festival and just before the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which increases NAFA’s chances of attracting high profile artists to Townsville.

“We’ll also be placing NAFA in the Townsville events season, with events like Supercars, Townsville Cup, the Strand Ephemera, the Townsville Trifest and Townsville Running Festival taking place close to the proposed NAFA dates.”

But Cr Greaney said there was no need to wait until 2021 to enjoy NAFA.

“This year, we are running a special version of the festival, called NAFA COVID Safe. This edition of NAFA will focus on the best in entertainment from across the state while remaining COVID-safe,” she said.

The North Australian Festival of Arts and Northern Fringe Festival Dates 2021 – 2023 will go to the Full Council meeting for endorsement on 22 September.

NAFA COVID Safe runs from 18 September to 25 October. To book tickets and for more information, head to the NAFA website.