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Darwin’s annual arts festival is like no other in Australia. Defined by the North’s Indigenous cultures and proximity to South East Asia it is an arts festival as unique as the city itself. Darwin Festival combines the local love of outdoor community festivities and dining with an adventurous programme of Australian and international performances and exhibitions. Here Indigenous artists and artists from Darwin’s Asian and Pacific neighbours take centre stage. Music, theatre, exhibitions, concerts, ideas and an irrepressible nightly Festival Club along with the ubiquitous bamboo food stalls and pop-up bars transform the tropical city for the last precious weeks of every dry season. Festival goers can be seen for 18 nights each August at the long communal tables in the festooned Festival Park eating Darwin’s legendary Asian food and arguing about who has seen the most shows. A festival that started nearly half a century ago with a parade of floats down the main street has grown along with the city. Nowadays the Festival boasts top international acts from the popular to the avant-garde and from the family friendly to the confronting, but it hasn’t lost its quintessential Darwin feeling of a relaxed, friendly, community celebration.
Early in 2015 incoming Artistic Director Andrew Ross will announce the highlights of a Festival that promises to take its audiences on new and surprising journeys. In 2015 Darwin Festival audiences will see an influx of Australian and international jazz and classical musicians, writers and thinkers, joining the perennial favourites of contemporary music, puppetry, dance, theatre, cabaret and comedy. Darwin is a city full of unheralded wonders and surprises, and the time to encounter those wonders and to be surprised by this intriguing and welcoming tropical city is when it comes out onto the streets and makes an arts and cultural festival like no other.
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