YEAR IN REVIEW
ONE WILD RIDE
2021 SNAPSHOT ENGAGEMENT
Nothing could have fully prepared us for the ride 2021 had in store, but despite the odds, we delivered a Festival for Darwin that was meaningful, memorable and made a real impact. As Festivals and events around the globe were cancelled, postponed or rescheduled for a second year running, Darwin Festival persevered, and with some luck (and a lot of hard work), made it through 14 (of 18) hot August nights jam-packed with art and celebration.
110,488 542 total artists
We didn’t do it alone, and a sincere thank you goes out to our partners, funders and donors for their continued belief in what we bring to Darwin and the NT; to our artists and audiences for holding on for the ride; and to our amazing Board, staff and volunteers for their continued dedication.
average ticket price
tickets refunded May - September 2021
331 99 Friends of the Festival
total economic impact
estimated total direct and indirect spend for 2021
25,681 visitor nights generated
Chief Executive Officer
WINNER Major Festival & Events Darwin Festival 2020
ticketed shows sold out across
168 38 80
COVID related event changes
Images 1. Festival Park, Tony Lewis 2. Constantina Bush, Tony Lewis 3. INPEX Sunset Stage, Rachel Younger for Foldback Media 4. I’ve Been Meaning To Ask You, Tony Lewis 5. Sycco, Rachel Younger for Foldback Media 6. Wanha! Journey To Arnhem, Tony Lewis 7. The Pulse, Tony Lewis 8. Reuben Kaye, Tony Lewis.
corporate partners, foundations & funders
No matter what, we’ll see you in 2022!
Northern Territory ARTISTS
103 93 58 employees
We are ending the year on another high after taking home a Brolga at the 2021 NT Tourism Awards in the Major Festivals and Events category. The Northern Territory Government has also confirmed a new four-year funding agreement that gives us the stability to forge ahead with longer-term initiatives and more ambitious programming outcomes in 2022 and beyond. Plus, we’re putting the finishing touches on our first annual carbon emissions audit as part of our commitment to being a 100% carbon neutral Festival.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a performance index out of 100
Net Promoter Score
QUALITY Darwin Festival delivers high quality cultural experiences for the people of Northern Territory VALUE Darwin Festival plays an important role in the cultural life of the Territory
LOCAL IMPACT It’s important that it’s happening in Darwin
agreed or strongly agreed
The Northern Territory Government should continue to invest in events like Darwin Festival
Prefer not to say
1 2 3 4
4% 16% 19% 18% 21% 18% 4%
of Festival-goers like to see outdoor events
Great to get out and attend an event To relax or escape To spend quality time with family members and friends To see or hear specific local NT events or artists
*During Festival campaign 4 May - 23 August 2021
CONTENT Darwin Festival reflected a broad and inclusive range of voices
PLACE Darwin Festival made me feel proud of my local area
15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75+
Top 4 reasons for attending Darwin Festival
BELONGING Darwin Festival helped me feel part of the community
Darwin Festival attendance breakdown by age
24% Interstate 2% Intra-Territory
SHOWCASE Darwin Festival showcases Darwin’s arts and cultural depth
Average visitor attended
AUTHENTICITY Darwin Festival has a connection to the state/ country we live in
6% Palmerston 64% Darwin 4% Darwin Rural Area
88,000+ Instagram reach*
129,139 unique users with
1,409 media clippings reached a cumulative potential audience of
total page views over
998,096,615 217,736 sessions *
*During Festival campaign 4 May - 23 August 2021
of coverage achieved interstate
worth of digital media coverage
“Amazing job pulling off this year’s Festival in very difficult circumstances. Perseverance and celebration truly in the vein of the original Bougainvillea festival.” Darwin Festival patron 2021
AS IT HAPPENED... MID JULY Multiple borders close to NT while others reopen
18 JUNE Full program revealed and on sale MAY Early release tickets on sale
TICKET SALES tracking at new highs
28 JUNE – 2 JULY Lockdown 1
26 JULY Festival COVID Safety Plan approved
“What a fabulous
GRAND AMBITIONS: BIG, BOLD, BACK In June 2021 we launched a huge Festival Program that was brimming with confidence. Presales from a May early release announcement were at a record high, the country had all but reopened and people were itching to get out and connect again through the shared experience of art. We eagerly anticipated the return of interstate audiences, many hoping to experience the beating heart of First Nations culture with our keynote opening weekend events. Our ambitious program opened the stages to big ideas and unique perspectives. World premiere seasons from acclaimed companies Marrugeku Dance Theatre and Gravity and Other Myths Circus, major productions from Sydney Dance Company and Opera Australia; provocative and timely theatre works; exhilarating contemporary dance from NT companies
WE FESTIVAL PARK
GUTS and Tracks Dance; a music program bursting with the hottest contemporary and classical ensembles; stellar comedy and cabaret acts from near and far; and the two largest ever Festival commissions including the Santos Opening Night Concert Buŋgul.
Over 47,000 Festival-goers enjoyed the Festival wonderland that is Festival Park this year, home of the INPEX Sunset Stage and Kolsen Bamboo Bandstand. The Park came alive with its trademark bamboo installations, festoon lights and curated eateries, offering respite and a place to connect over shared experiences and communal dinners. Wish Upon a Jellyfish by local artist Aly de Groot illuminated the tree canopy with 100 spectacular jellyfish, inviting a woven wish for a brighter future and more than a few Instagrammable moments.
How quickly things change. By July more than half the country was once again in lockdown, this time Darwin included. Needless to say, Plan B (C, D, E, F… and Z) came quickly into effect. Despite the rollercoaster of the subsequent weeks, including; 8 changes to interstate borders in the lead up and during the Festival, resulting in 40 cancellations, 17 rescheduled events and 9 postponements; reprogramming 14 new performances into the Festival, and a 72-hour lockdown during the Festival’s final week, the community sentiment was overwhelmingly positive. Audiences turned up in droves to the remaining shows, adhering to restrictions and happily masked, proving the transformative power of live performance to bring communities together.
Park patrons also encountered a pop-up rave ready shipping container over the middle weekend of the Festival. Young participants from the local Stars and Clontarf programs engaged audiences in highly entertaining 10 Minute Dance Parties where young people were definitely in charge. While Trolleys, an epic alfresco ballet with shopping trolley’s, and
22 AUGUST Festival wraps
TI O LA
20 AUGUST Festival Park reopens and events resume with restrictions
16-19 AUGUST Lockdown 2 Darwin Festival paused
Opening weekend events reimagined
Darwin Amphitheatre events called off
29 JULY We’re on... with a few program changes
5 AUGUST Festival Park opens one day early
S GE N A
29 JULY – 5 AUGUST 8+ border restrictions force more event changes
s festival! You rode the ‘Rona rollercoaster and hit the finish line in one piece – and I am immensely grateful.” Darwin Festival patron 2021
the Kolsen Bamboo Bandstand activated the evenings with free entertainment for the whole family.
Larrakia artists Shaun and Trent Lee transformed the outside of the INPEX Sunset Stage with a stunning saltwater themed mural, and inside the venue thronged with buzzing audiences and amazing talent every night of the Festival. From the opening weekend extravaganza Club Briefs to the closing notes of NT legend Constantina Bush, the venue proved itself a welcome home for music, comedy, and cabaret lovers.
2021 saw Darwin Festival strengthen relationships across the sector and collaborate in new ways.
Nearby Brown’s Mart Theatre and Happy Yess were home to a thrilling lineup of theatre, dance and contemporary performances. Daring dance-theatre work Daddy and desert road trip Heart is a Wasteland showcased First Nations storytelling, while NT companies sold out their World Premiere seasons – The Hypotheticals by local theatre-maker Sarah Reuben adding additional performances, and GUTS Dance’s Value For Money leaving audiences spellbound. 5
The Darwin Waterfront precinct became home to Tiffany Singh’s Fly Me Up To Where You Are installation for the duration of the Festival, bringing the message of NT children to the heart of Darwin city. This project began in 2020 during lockdown and culminated in a canopy of over 3000 colourful flags capturing the hopes and dreams of Darwin youth. On the INPEX Sunset Stage, two Territory showcases made their debut. From Yirrkala, WANHA! Journey To Arnhem celebrated the culture and creativity of the region in a musical odyssey, while Red Desert, Endless Sky: Songs from the Centre was a spellbinding ode to the stark beauty of Central Australia, backed by the Alice Sings Pop Choir.
Over at the Darwin Entertainment Centre, generations collided in I’ve Been Meaning To Ask You where teen performers from Darwin’s Corrugated Iron Youth Arts took to the stage to ask hard questions and deliver home truths. The official launch of The Djari Project also saw an exciting cross-cultural collaboration with an exquisite collection of multilingual songs by Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizerahi performed in full at last by an all-star NT chamber orchestra and the stunning Aurora Choir. The much anticipated The Pulse by Gravity and Other Myths - one of the Festival’s biggest-ever commissions - made it to the stage on the closing weekend. Paused by lockdown but rescheduled and ultimately unstoppable this spell binding circus featured 30 acrobats and 22 choristers. Darwin is still talking about it!
“Absolutely LOVED Darwin Festival this year... Keeps getting better every year! Darwin Festival patron 2021
2021 PARTNERS PARTNER IN EXCELLENCE
LOCAL GOVERNMENT PARTNER
BRAND STRATEGY PARTNER
SUPPORTERS ARCHIE ROSE DISTILLING CO. | BOLTZ ELECTRICAL | EXPRESS SIGNS | MERIT PARTNERS | TERRITORY EVENTS HIRE | TRAMPOLINE | WORMALD
SEE YOU NEXT FESTIVAL 4-21 AUGUST 2022 Level 2, Harbour View Plaza 8 McMinn Street, Darwin NT 0801 (+61) 08 8943 4200 firstname.lastname@example.org ABN 15 616 936 371