Tens of thousands converge for festival

Article image - Tens of thousands converge for festival Dancenorth’s production of Dungarri Nya Nya Ngarri Bi Nya at NAFA.

The North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) has marked off another resounding success with tens of thousands of visitors attending a slew of sold-out shows during the month of July.

The award-winning festival brought art, culture and entertainment to Townsville despite rolling COVID-19 lockdowns across the country which resulted in 97 shows being forced to cancel during the month-long festival.

City of Townsville Councillor, Ann-Maree Greaney said cabaret and comedy were the most popular genres with audiences this year, including packed-out children’s shows.

“Visitors to Townsville who travelled for the Townsville 500, Ephemera or the Australian Festival of Chamber Music Queens Gardens Concert, got to experience the joy of NAFA spread across the city, from The Messengers of Townsville birds perched around the CBD to live shows at Strand Park, Central Park and The Ville.

“It’s been a thrill to welcome NAFA mainstay Wonderland Spiegeltent back to Townsville for the last four weeks, with their incredible mix of children’s shows, circus, cabaret and comedy.

“We also had the pleasure of having Australian rock band Yothu Yindi step in at the last minute to headline a free show at The Ville Headland, which had 1400 audience members, with only two days’ notice.”

Cr Greaney said it was an incredible turnout for the month-long event.

“Throughout the month of NAFA Townsville has a chance to really shine. Everywhere you look there are people out enjoying our beautiful weather and the incredible amount of art that we host across the city.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring nationally-acclaimed art to North Queensland each year during NAFA, and to be able to continue delivering this outstanding event even during the most trying times.

This offering of art and culture is a mood booster for both locals and visitors who make the most of NAFA.

“The economic activation that NAFA provides to Townsville each year is extremely important for local businesses, from hospitality to retail to tourism.

“NAFA consistently provides a strong return on Council’s investment into the event and goes to show how powerful arts and entertainment can be for our economy, especially while businesses are still feeling the brunt of COVID’s effects.”