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NAFA 2021 injects $11.8 million into Townsville economy
Published date: 24 November 2021
A staggering $11.8 million has been pumped into Townsville’s economy thanks to this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA).
The figure includes $4.8 million in direct economic impact, which was driven by ticket sales, food and drinks, accommodation and flights for attendees.
The economic benefits, as well as other post-event details, were highlighted in the North Australian Festival of Arts 2021 Impact Report noted at today’s Townsville City Council meeting.
The report showed that $1.5 million was spent at NAFA events during the month-long event, which ran from early July to early August this year.
Mayor Jenny Hill said this was a massive boon to the Townsville economy.
“Cementing Townsville’s title as the arts and culture capital of Northern Australia is a focus for Council. We are proud to deliver NAFA each year – it is a world-class festival that has developed a reputation for high-calibre acts and exhibitions since its inception in 2019,” Cr Hill said.
“Townsville has been extremely lucky to forge ahead with events like NAFA despite the challenges other cities have faced with lockdowns caused by COVID. Thanks to NAFA 2021, our city has benefited from $4.8 million directly, which is a much-welcomed boost to our economy following a tough year during 2020.
“That figure is more than doubled to $11.8 million when you look at the multiplied economic impact, which takes into account the flow-on effect of demand for goods and services like hotel stays and meals out across our city.
“This is an enormous boon for artists, business owners and the Townsville hospitality industry, which have had to bounce back following a difficult run with COVID lockdowns.”
Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the figures showed just how valuable NAFA was for Townsville businesses and for artists across the country.
“Council is proud to bring this award-winning event to Townsville each year, the challenges of COVID notwithstanding. It is worth the hard work to see the economic impact the event has on Townsville and the enjoyment it brings to our community,” Cr Greaney said.
“But more than the financial figures, the social connections and avenues for artists to have their work celebrated in Townsville makes the year-long NAFA planning process worthwhile.
“We had 95 per cent of our surveyed attendees rate their overall experience at NAFA as good and excellent, which just goes to show how much members of the public enjoy the event.
“Artists and business owners have been doing it tough since COVID rocked our world early last year, so seeing these extremely positive results just a year on shows how resilient our communities are and just how powerful art can be during difficult times.
“Now we can look forward to NAFA 2022, giving the city more reasons to make the most of the events season right here in the arts and culture capital of Northern Australia.”
NAFA 2022 will run from Friday 10 June to Sunday 10 July next year.
NAFA 2021 quick stats
- Total: 26,946
- Ticketed attendance: 13,170
- Non-ticketed attendance: 13,776
- Box office
- Total box office revenue: $476,239
- Average ticket price: $36
- Tickets sold: 11,664
- Total number of shows: 243
- Individual performances: 79
- Free events: 135
- Shows accessible for people with disability: 100%
- Number of shows cancelled due to COVID: 97
- Number of artists: 376
- Local artists: 64%
- Queensland-based artists: 12%
- Interstate artists: 20%
- Overseas artists: 4%
- Strand Park: 19,310 visitors | 18 event days
- Central Park: 1963 visitors | six event days
- Queens Gardens: 1544 visitors | one event day
- The Ville Headland: 3497 visitors | three event days
Music stars to perform free show at Queens Gardens
Published date: 22 July 2021
Internationally acclaimed didgeridoo superstar William Barton will join violinist Grace Clifford, clarinettist Lloyd Van’t Hoff, the Barrier Reef Orchestra and 1RAR Band to perform in the Australian Festival of Chambers Music’s free Queens Gardens Concert this Sunday.
The free Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) Queens Gardens Concert, presented by Townsville City Council and the AFCM, is part of this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts.
Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the concert would include a smorgasbord of musical talent.
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming William Barton to Townsville to perform alongside the Barrier Reef Orchestra and 1RAR Band at this year’s AFCM Queens Gardens concert,” Cr Greaney said.
“We are lucky to be able to sit outside and enjoy such a wide range of beautiful music for free with this concert, which will bring some of the best Australian musicians together on stage.”
AFCM Executive Director Dr Ricardo Peach highlighted the diversity of the program.
“We are delighted to be able to hold this concert with a program as diverse as it is entertaining including the ravishing Meditation from Thaïs for solo violin and orchestra to be performed by visiting violinist Grace Clifford and the Barrier Reef Orchestra,” he said.
“The hauntingly beautiful slow movement from the Mozart clarinet concerto played by visiting clarinettist Lloyd Van't Hoff, didgeridoo superstar William Barton will be performing his own compositions with the Barrier Reef Orchestra and 1RAR.
“Brisbane based violinist Natsuko Yoshimoto and violist Imants Larsens will be performing Martinů’s Duo No. 1 for Violin and Viola Three Madrigals and there will be popular songs from local favourites the Barrier Reef Orchestra and 1RAR that will have you tapping your toes to the music.”
Cr Greaney said COVID had hampered some of the AFCM’s plans for NAFA 2021, but that there was still plenty happening across the city for music lovers.
“We know that it was a difficult decision for the AFCM to scale back its program this year, but it was necessary considering the ever-changing COVID restrictions across Australia,” she said.
“The silver lining is that the Queens Gardens concert and the Winterschool programs will go ahead, including workshops and concerts in Charters Towers and Ayr, which is fantastic for local music lovers and performers.
“Council will continue to work with the AFCM committee to make sure they can celebrate their 30th anniversary in Townsville in 2022.”
Statement regarding the postponement of Tropic Sounds, NAFA performances
Date Published: 20 July 2021
COVID lockdowns in southern states have forced the postponement of Tropic Sounds, Pot-Pourri and By A Thread in Townsville as part of the North Australian Festival of Arts.
Tones and I was set to headline the first Tropic Sounds festival alongside Pierce Brothers and Voye – this would have been Tones’ first Townsville performance.
Mayor Jenny Hill said it was unfortunate that lockdowns had further impacted the NAFA line-up, but that it was in the best interest of the public.
“I know that this is a difficult time for these artists and my best wishes go out to them as they deal with being in lockdown across various parts of the country,” Cr Hill said.
“COVID is continuing to force us to change and adapt in ways we’ve never had to before, but it’s important that we continue to adhere to the rules so that we stay as safe and healthy as possible.
“NAFA is working with Tones and I to reschedule a Townsville show as soon as possible, we can’t wait to have her perform here in North Queensland.
“To the artists who have had to cancel their performances, thank you for your support of NAFA 2021 and here’s hoping we see you here in Townsville as soon as possible.
“Anyone who has booked tickets to cancelled shows will be notified by email and will receive a refund.
“As always, there are still plenty of incredible local shows going ahead, so please get behind those performances and support the great local art we have in Townsville as part of NAFA 2021.”
NAFA introduces two new performance hubs
Date published: 19 July 2021
Two new performance hubs are opening up in Townsville as part of the North Australian Festival of Arts 2021.
Queens Gardens and Central Park will come to life with performances including the AFCM Queens Garden Concert, live shows by local musicians, Indian classical dance and more.
Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said NAFA was a great way to activate public spaces.
“Queens Gardens and Central Park are two beautiful parks that are going to shine with the addition of tents, stages and, most importantly, lots of performances,” Cr Greaney said.
“Queens Gardens is going to be a haven for music lovers with the AFCM concert, while Central Park will have Pinnochi’s Palace, the Empire Theatre, a main stage with free live performances, and a food court with plenty to eat and drink.”
Cr Greaney said there were still plenty of chances to get amongst the NAFA action during the next two weeks.
“There have been a number of cancellations because of COVID, which is why supporting the acts that are still able to perform as part of NAFA is so vital,” she said.
“We still have a fortnight of high-calibre shows, exhibitions and workshops across Townsville, so make sure to jump onto the NAFA website to check out the program, or just go for a walk along the Strand or Central Park to soak up the festival atmosphere.”
Yothu Yindi to play free concert in Townsville for NAFA
Date published: 14 July 2021
Yothu Yindi is bringing the spirit of Arnhem Land to Townsville for a free concert this Friday as part of the North Australian Festival of Arts.
The legendary rock group will put new fire into classic tracks like Treaty, Tribal Voice and One Blood when they play at The Ville Headland.
Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the performance was an incredible last-minute addition to the NAFA program.
“Yothu Yindi is without doubt one of the most celebrated Australian bands, and we are thrilled to have them join the NAFA 2021 program this week,” Cr Greaney said.
“From the hit song Treaty and performing at the Sydney Olympics all the way to being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, this band is a cultural touchstone across our country.
“The concert will include special guest Rrawun Maymuru on lead vocals.”
Cr Greaney said Yothu Yindi’s show would be a free, family-friendly event.
“There’s no need to book tickets, just head to The Ville Headland next to The Ville Resort-Casino with your family and friends,” she said.
“I would recommend wearing shoes that make it easy to walk across uneven ground, and to bring your own picnic blanket or chair so you can relax and enjoy the music.
“There will be food trucks and the venue will be licensed so you can make the most of the concert.
“Make sure to physically distance from others to help make NAFA 2021 as safe as possible.”
Gates open at 7pm this Friday (16 July).
NAFA 2021 to kick off tonight
Date published: 3 July 2021
The curtain will rise on Townsville’s premier arts and cultural event, the North Australian Festival of Arts or NAFA, tonight <July 3>.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said organisers had worked around the clock to ensure performances and venues met the COVID-safe restrictions announced by the Chief Health Officer yesterday.
“NAFA was due to get under way on Thursday evening, however the three-day lockdown imposed this week to stop the spread of COVID and the ongoing restrictions announced yesterday threw a spanner in the works,” Cr Hill said.
“But as they say in the theatre, “the show must go on” and I am thrilled that the festival will kick-off tomorrow night and continue for the rest of the month.
“The safety of our performers and patrons is our top priority, so NAFA will be complying with all restrictions set by the Chief Health Officer.
“All patrons attending a NAFA performance at any venue must wear a mask and there will be increased hygiene stations at all venues. All event patrons will also be designated a seat in-line with Queensland Health guidelines.”
Cr Hill said a number of performances had been cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing impact of COVID.
“To complement our amazing local artists, a number of performers were due to fly into Townsville to take part in NAFA, however ongoing restrictions and the unavailability of some performers have meant some can no longer travel,” she said.
Cancelled shows include: Eden, Good Chat’s Comedy’s Best of Fringe, Steph Tisdell’s Black Out Comedy, Aboriginal Comedy Allstars, Yuck Circus, Blunderland, Music Under the Stars and Discover the Sounds of the Orchestra.
Postponed shows include: Neck of the Woods, Dungarri Nya Nya Ngarri Bi Nya, Paul McDermott-Plus One, Cape Pallarenda: The Last 200 Years, Salon La La, Brass Monkeys, Children are Stinky, Manoeuvre Stilt Walkers and Silent Disco Walking Tours.
NAFA organisers will continue to work with postponed shows to arrange new dates.
Ticketholders for cancelled or postponed shows will be notified by email and receive a refund for any cancelled shows or be able to re-book for a new date.
“I urge anyone eager to head out tomorrow night, support our arts industry and experience some of the best that Townsville has to offer, to jump online, check out the program and book your tickets now,” Cr Hill said.
“I also encourage those attending a show to bookend their night at one of our local restaurants or bars and support them following the difficulties of this week’s lockdown.”
NAFA COVID-19 Update - 29 June 2021
Date Published: 29 June 2021
Watch our latest NAFA COVID-19 update. We are staying positive and still hope to proceed with the NAFA 2021 program as soon as possible. Stay safe, stay positive and stay tuned for our next update.
NAFA shows impacted by COVID-19
Date Published: 29 June 2021
Patrons of the North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) will begin receiving refunds for cancelled shows from this week.
Townsville Mayor and Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chairperson Jenny Hill said anyone who had purchased a ticket for a show that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 would receive an email notifying them about their refund.
“This lockdown has come at an unfortunate time with NAFA expected to begin this week, but our staff have had contingencies in place to deal with such an eventuality,” Cr Hill said.
“While it is unknown what will happen past this Friday, residents will begin to receive automatic refunds for any shows that are cancelled and will receive an email notifying them of the cancellation.
“This will include travelling shows that aren’t already in Townsville and aren’t able to enter Queensland due to developing COVID-19 situations throughout the rest of Australia.”
Cr Hill said Council would also open a NAFA helpline to assist with any enquiries about the festival.
“Council staff will be available to answer questions about the festival through a NAFA helpline that will open from 9am tomorrow.
“I would like to stress that for any patrons that have bought tickets to a show that has been cancelled, there is no need to call this hotline as the refunds will be processed automatically.
“We’re hopeful that once this lockdown is lifted, NAFA will go ahead as planned with all COVID-safe plans and precautions in place including QR sign-in, hygiene stations and cleaning of all venues.”
Residents can call the NAFA helpline on 4727 9666 between 9am - 5pm, Wednesday 30 June to Friday 2 July.
Action-packed NAFA program now live
Date Published: 4 June 2021
The full program for the month-long North Australian Festival of Arts 2021 is now live with anyone wanting to get in on the action being urged to book tickets now to avoid disappointment.
The program gives revellers a comprehensive look at exactly which performances, exhibitions and experiences will converge on Townsville during the festival. A teaser program highlighting some of NAFA’s best performances was released earlier this month.
Mayor Jenny Hill said the program was a testament to NAFA’s status as a leading cultural event in Australia.
“There is something for everyone in this program, whether you’re young or just young at heart. Children can experience the best in circus and comedy or try their hands at our writing workshops; adults can make the most of theatre and visual arts, and young people will get a real kick out of the new Tropic Sounds concert being headlined by Tones and I,” Cr Hill said.
“Council is extremely proud of NAFA and the Northern Fringe Festival, which are bringing some of the best productions in the country to Townsville for four weeks of outrageous fun.
“I would strongly recommend getting in early to secure tickets for NAFA performances and workshops, as they’re sure to sell out fast.”
Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the program showed why NAFA was an award-winning event.
“Last year NAFA was named an Australian Event Award-winner, and it’s not hard to see why with some of Australia’s leading cabaret, comedy, theatre and circus performers all heading to Townsville to celebrate a month of art and culture with us,” Cr Greaney said.
“This year’s event is bigger and better than ever before, with more than 400 performances across Townsville.
“Not only is this a coup for the arts community, but it will also be a boon to the tourism and hospitality sectors which need a cash injection following the height of the pandemic last year.”
NAFA is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.
Tones and I to take to stage in Townsville as part of NAFA 2021
Date Published: 17 May 2021
Tones and I will headline the new Tropic Sounds concert in Queensland Country Bank Stadium as part of this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts this July.
Her performance is just one of the headline NAFA acts announced today, alongside Popcorn Underground, Tim Ferguson and Dungarri Nya Nya Ngarri Bi Nya.
NAFA is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville City Council was proud to partner with CQUniversity and The Ville Resort-Casino to help present NAFA 2021.
“NAFA is an award-winning festival that brings the best of Australia’s arts and culture scene to the heart of North Queensland,” Cr Hill said.
“Council is thrilled to be able to bring NAFA to the Townsville community. There’s no doubt that artists and performers across the country have felt the impact of COVID-19 which is just one standout reason we’re so pleased to be able to present another iteration of NAFA.
“In its inaugural year NAFA sold more than 23,000 tickets across Townsville, with hundreds of thousands more experiencing free events and activations across NAFA.
“These numbers were extremely heartening not only for performers and artists, but also for the local tourism and hospitality industry that experiences the follow-on effect from the festival.”
Council Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said there were some stellar acts announced for NAFA 2021.
“I can’t wait to head along to as many shows as possible during NAFA. Tropic Sounds is going to be an incredible show, with local talent taking the same stage as ARIA Award-winner Tones and I,” Cr Greaney said.
“But there’s so much more to experience across the four weeks of NAFA. I’ll definitely be getting in early to grab tickets for POSE, High Tea with BOOFF and Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s show Bonkers!.
“Because there are so many incredible acts and shows across the four weeks of NAFA, I would recommend taking a look at the NAFA website and booking tickets early to avoid disappointment.”
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart welcomed the announcement of the big acts performing at Tropic Sounds.
“Townsville is the events capital of Northern Australia and the Palaszczuk Government continues to back events which helps stimulate the economy,” he said.
“Tones and I is a huge artist with her hit Dance Monkey having more than 2 billion streams on Spotify so this will be massive for Townsville.”
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said it was great to have another major event in Townsville.
“We’ve already had the All Stars and the Horn v Tszyu fight in Townsville, plus we’ve got the Queensland Reds and Kiss playing later this year,” he said.
“We know events like Tropic Sounds bring people into the city which is important for businesses and tourism operators as we deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said events like NAFA helped highlight a different side of Townsville to more people.
“Townsville has a strong arts community and events like NAFA help bring many people into the city,” he said.
“NAFA has become a big success in Townsville since it began in 2019. It originated from the Commonwealth Games Townsville Festival 2018 and has become this hugely successful event.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the big line-up of all-Australian music acts would make Townsville the place to be.
“It’s fantastic to see the North Australian Festival of Arts evolve with more arts, culture and entertainment experiences for 2021,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“NAFA is the perfect excuse for a Townsville escape to experience the region’s cultural and natural attractions including the Great Barrier Reef.
“Events like NAFA support North Queensland jobs and the Palaszczuk Government’s economic recovery plan.”
CQUniversity Townsville Campus Associate Vice-President, Professor Pierre Viljoen said that the University was once again proud to partner with Townsville City Council to deliver a world class cultural event to communities in North Queensland.
“CQUniversity is proud to be NAFA’s major education partner, and to work with Council and event organisers to deliver this award-winning event and give back to the region,” Professor Viljoen said.
“Now, more than ever, it is important to provide opportunities for our communities to come together and to support the arts and creative industries.”
NAFA runs from 2 July to 1 August across Townsville.
For more information and to book tickets, head to nafa-tsv.com.au.
|Headline Shows & Events||Dates|
|The White Rose & the Red, TheatreiNQ||30 June - 11 July|
|100 Years Ago, Circus Wonderland||1 - 11 July|
|Popcorn Underground, Wonderland Spiegeltent||1 - 4, 6 - 11 & 13 - 18 July|
|Dungarri Nya Nya Bi Nya, Wulgurukaba Walkabouts, Big Eye Theatre Dancers, Komet Dancers, Obery Sambo, Meriam Dancers, Bindal Dancers, Dancenorth Australia||3 - 4 July|
|Brass Monkeys, Circus Trick Tease and Nicholas Clark Management||3 - 6 July|
|High Tea with BOOFF, Homunculus Theatre Company||6 - 11 & 14 - 18 July|
|Don't Mess with the Dummies, Dummies Corp||14 - 18 July|
|Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale: Bonkers, Matt Hale Comedy Hypnotist||30 - 31 July & 1 August|
|Tropic Sounds featuring Tones and I & Pierce Brothers||31 July|
|Eden, Legs on the Wall||22 - 25 July|
|A Fast Life on Wheels, Tim Ferguson||23 - 24 July|
Messengers to land in Townsville for NAFA
Date published: 7 May 2021
A not-so-little flock of birds will be spreading a message of hope and joy when they land in Townsville this July as part of the Messengers of Townsville public art installation.
The captivating artwork will include six Gouldian finches created by internationally renowned visual artist Florentijn Hofman.
The larger-than-life sculptures will be arriving in Townsville for the North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) on 2 July and will be spread across iconic landmarks in Townsville until 11 July.
Townsville will be the first regional stop for the giant birds before they head off to Mackay Festival of Arts, Better In Blackall, and return to Brisbane Festival.
Townsville City Council Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said it was exciting to have Townsville be the first landing spot outside of Brisbane for this flock of sculptures.
“NAFA is an award-winning festival that shines a spotlight on local artists as well as artists from further afield. Messengers of Townsville will encapsulate the spirit of NAFA, spreading hope and joy across the city,” Cr Greaney said.
“I’m looking forward to having one of these incredible sculptures on top of buildings throughout, and to hear everyone’s reactions when they see the Gouldian finches land across the city.”
The artwork will travel more than 3,300km on its six-week tour of Queensland.
The work made its world premiere at Brisbane Festival in 2020 when Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina commissioned the colourful Messengers of Brisbane installation as a beacon of hope for the city following an extended COVID-19 lockdown.
“These giant Gouldian finches are glorious visual reminders to look up and smile, to experience a moment of joy and to celebrate,” Ms Bezzina said.
“The Messengers will not only inspire and invigorate regional communities but will help bring local and interstate visitors to regions that are emerging from the interruptions of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
“I am delighted at the incredible support and assistance that Tourism and Events Queensland, Mackay Regional Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council and Townsville City Council have given to help us tour this magnificent and joyous public artwork.
“Fittingly, the Messengers will wrap up their regional tour just before Brisbane Festival returns from 3 – 25 September 2021.”
Based in The Netherlands, Mr Hofman worked with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects) to bring his concept and designs to life for the major commission.
“This work breathes hope for better days. It symbolises celebrating life and being positive... especially during this period,” Hofman said.
This project is an original commission by Brisbane Festival, supported through the Giving Program by Tim Fairfax AC and Gina Fairfax.
The Queensland Government, through Arts Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support Brisbane Festival and the Messengers regional tour. The Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland’s Destination Events Program, is also proud to support the North Australian Festival of Arts, which features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
Image Credit: Atmosphere Photography
Image Credit: Atmosphere Photography
Image Credit: Courtesy of UAP