Dar­win Fes­ti­val likely

OR­GAN­IS­ERS EA­GER TO MAKE DAR­WIN FES­TI­VAL WORK

Sunday Territorian - - FRONT PAGE - RAPHAELLA SAROUKOS

DAR­WIN Fes­ti­val looks likely to go ahead this year with lo­cal per­form­ers, as or­gan­is­ers work­shop how to make the event vi­able dur­ing the coronaviru­s cri­sis.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Felix Preval said or­gan­is­ers were hop­ing to make an an­nounce­ment in the com­ing weeks about if and how the 41st Fes­ti­val would oc­cur. “We are plan­ning for a range of pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for the Fes­ti­val in Au­gust,” he said.

“It def­i­nitely won’t be a nor­mal year for the Fes­ti­val – or any­one – but we’re re­ally hop­ing to make some­thing great for the peo­ple of Dar­win.”

DAR­WIN Fes­ti­val looks likely to go ahead this year with lo­cal per­form­ers, as or­gan­is­ers work­shop how to make the event vi­able dur­ing the coronaviru­s cri­sis.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Felix Preval said or­gan­is­ers hoped to make an an­nounce­ment in the com­ing weeks about if and how the 41st fes­ti­val would oc­cur.

“We are plan­ning for a range of pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for the fes­ti­val in Au­gust,” he said.

“It def­i­nitely won’t be a nor­mal year for the fes­ti­val – or any­one – but we’re re­ally hop­ing to make some­thing great for the peo­ple of Dar­win.

“Dar­win Fes­ti­val is a high­light of the dry sea­son and we know our au­di­ence is keen for the fes­ti­val to hap­pen this year, which is why we’ve been work­ing so hard to find a vi­able model in this un­cer­tain time.”

With in­ter­state and in­ter­na­tional travel re­stric­tions un­likely to be lifted soon, Mr Preval said it would give the fes­ti­val an op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue cel­e­brat­ing lo­cal tal­ent.

“Dar­win Fes­ti­val has al­ways been an im­por­tant plat­form for lo­cal artists,” he said. “With the cur­rent travel re­stric­tions, this seems likely to be even more of a fo­cus in 2020.”

Mr Preval said the Dar­win Fes­ti­val team was mon­i­tor­ing the coronaviru­s pan­demic and tak­ing guid­ance from the Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Health, NT Health and the Ter­ri­tory Govern­ment.

“We hope to make an an­nounce­ment in the com­ing weeks,” he said.

In March, fes­ti­val chair Ian Kew told the Sun­day Ter­ri­to­rian or­gan­is­ers needed to “sit down and think about it”.

Dar­win Fes­ti­val had a record-break­ing year in 2019 with more than 110,000 peo­ple at­tend­ing the 18-day event.

The pro­gram fea­tured 609 per­form­ers, with 306 from the Ter­ri­tory.

At the end of last year’s fes­ti­val, for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Emily Mann re­vealed an un­prece­dented 50,436 of 57,000 tick­ets had been sold.

“(This) just doesn’t hap­pen at any fes­ti­val around the coun­try,” she said. “We had ... 107 out of 165 tick­eted per­for­mances sold out across the board – it’s record num­bers.”

Pic­ture: GLENN CAMP­BELL

Blanc de Blanc aeri­al­ists per­form at a past Dar­win Fes­ti­val

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