Parrtjima – A Festival in Light has wrapped up its eighth successful year in the Red Centre, illuminating the ancient MacDonnell Ranges at Alice Springs Desert Park (ASDP)
Held over the Easter break, an average of just over 2200 people visited Parrtjima each night to experience the installations and programmed events.
Increased mid-week programming and a new, more accessible layout for the 2023 event helped attract the biggest Monday, Tuesday and Thursday crowds since Parrtjima began in 2016. There were more than 2,200 attendees on Monday, more than 2,400 on Tuesday and more than 2,800 on Thursday. More than 1000 people alone attended the Eastern Reggae Band concert, while mid-week workshops were at capacity.
Although the Desert Park site was forced to close on Saturday due to inclement weather and festival programming (the talks and music) was moved to Araluen Arts Centre, the Festival attracted over 20,200 attendances overall.
This year’s theme, listening with heart, was inspired by the artwork surrounding the Uluru statement from the heart, and encouraged people to come together, meet and take time to contemplate and reflect in the beautiful Red Centre.
Parrtjima 2023 was delivered by the Northern Territory Government through Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) and Creative Directors AGB Events. NTMEC CEO Suzana Bishop said it was encouraging to see so many Territorians and visitors learning more about Indigenous culture in the Red Centre.
“With a healthy mix of local, interstate and international visitors, Parrtjima was a beautiful opportunity for us to all get together, and learn and share stories on Country,” Bishop, said.
“It was heartening to see people from a range of nationalities and backgrounds come along to enjoy the program,” she said.
“Their support helped deliver three nights of record numbers, and visitors were able to explore the Red Centre region, and the unique experiences it offers, while those on the program reached new audiences and shared their stories in new ways.”
Grounded, the stunning immersive installation that sees artworks projected onto the red sand of ASDP, featured six artworks from artists across the Central and Western Desert region. Visitors enjoyed standing inside the artworks, and becoming part of them.
The MacDonnell Ranges light show remained a favourite, turning the ancient landmark into a natural canvas, and Listening with Heart installation told the story of the artwork that surrounds the Statement from the Heart.
Visitors heard from inspirational speakers including marathon man Charlie Maher and actor Steven Oliver, and enjoyed live music from a range of voices, including The Andrew Gurruwiwi Band, Eastern Reggae Band, Paul Ah Chee, Radical Son and Richard J Frankland.
Independent research shows last year’s festival generated a total expenditure stimulus in the Northern Territory of $14.7 million, with 81 per cent (that’s $11.9 million) being new money to the Territory.