NAFA 2023 draws thousands to The Strand, Jezzine

Date published: 18 July 2023

The North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) has attracted a stunning 35,000 people to events hosted at NAFA Hub venues during its 16-day run.

The festival ran from 23 June to 9 July and included dance and music performances Bamabarra-ma Dariburu and Songs to the Ocean at the picturesque Jezzine Park, and the world premiere of Still at Pallarenda.

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the turnout to the fortnight of arts and cultural events proved how valuable the arts were to Townsville.

“What we see time and time again is that residents and visitors want to be part of arts and cultural events hosted in Townsville, including during NAFA,” Cr Greaney said.

“We had sold-out events across the festival, which shows the passion North Queenslanders and visitors to our region have for seeing big names like Wil Anderson, Mahalia Barnes and Ross Wilson right here in Townsville.

“As a Council it’s our focus to grow our city’s capacity as an arts centre through delivering international-standard signature events and by providing opportunities for the growth of local artists.

“It was great to have a spotlight on local artists with premieres from dance companies Dancenorth and the Wulgurukaba Walkabouts and Townsville theatre company TheatreiNQ. The diversity of performers in our NAFA 2023 program shows just how valuable running festivals like NAFA is to artists from Townsville and across the country.

“I’m particularly proud of seeing how well the Youth Arts Hub @ NAFA went, with three days of free workshops, activities and performances designed by Townsville’s young people for young people. Almost everything was booked out and that goes to show just how important it is to design avenues for young people to engage with their community and with the arts.”

NAFA 2023 included Auslan-interpreted performances and a trial of Changing Places facilities for increased accessibility to ensure all residents and visitors could enjoy the festival.

Four more events are still to come in the NAFA 2023 line-up, with Corroborree 2023 at Central Park on Friday 28 July from 5pm to 8pm, on Saturday 29 July from 9am to 3pm, and Sunday 30 July from 9am to 2pm, as well as Pose 2023 at Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre on Saturday 26 August from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.