Festival to Capitalise on Culture

The First Act secured for Townsville's Northern Australian Festival of the Arts (NAFA) has been announced.

Within 24 hours of Townsville’s Festival 2018 events going live, over 1,000 tickets were booked. The 12-day program is sure to entertain locals and visitors alike, while instilling a sense of purpose in local artists and a hope that there will be more demand locally for their craft. Maybe it’s time to create that demand, and celebrate everything our city’s creatives are capable of.
–Huxley Press, March 2018.

This July, Townsville will host the inaugural Northern Australian Festival of Arts.

The Festival will showcase and celebrate the best arts and culture practitioners from across the region, as well as national and international guests in areas ranging from visual art and theatre to circus and comedy.

Townsville Acting Mayor Les Walker said the event would build on some of Townsville’s most iconic festivals to create an all-encompassing celebration of the Arts.

“The Northern Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) will run throughout the month of July and will encompass the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and Strand Ephemera as part of our winter season,” Cr Walker said.

“We are looking to focus heavily on opportunities for our local and regional artists, performers and groups to showcase the vibrant arts and cultural life in our region.”

Although launching off the back of last year’s incredibly successful Festival 2018, NAFA will be designed specifically for Townsville.

“Festival 2018, although fantastic, came with restriction as it was part of the Commonwealth Games program – NAFA will be curated entirely in Townsville and we will be able to consult with locals on what the event should look like.

“Townsville is the arts, events and sporting capital in Northern Australia and Council really wants NAFA to reflect this – which is why we’ve decided to move away from the branding of Festival 2018. This is about arts and culture in regional Australia, and the part we all have to play in highlighting what the North has to offer – the new name really demonstrates the ambition behind the event.”

NAFA will welcome two Spiegeltents back to Queens Gardens to host local, national and international acts during the Festival, with opportunities also available outside the official programming. The first major act – hit punk cabaret Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club – was confirmed earlier this month.

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club has received rave reviews and is a little edgy – I think it’s going to be a big hit with locals,” Cr Walker said.


“We will also be looking for venues, artists, performers, buskers and others to take part in a Fringe Festival program – The Northern Fringe – alongside the curated festival.

“We are looking to focus heavily on opportunities for our local and regional artists, performers and groups to showcase the vibrant arts and cultural life in our region.

“Council will be seeking expressions of interest from our arts community early in the new year for those wanting to participate in NAFA.”

The Northern Australian Festival of Arts is expected to run throughout July in venues across Townsville and in conjunction with other existing events. For updates on when Festival applications open, follow Townsville City Council on Facebook.

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