Barunga Celebrates Aboriginal Spirit

Barunga, Australia’s oldest and largest remote-community festival, was revived this year.

It was revived by new management, Darwin-based record label Skinnyfish Music, after nearly collapsing altogether in the previous year, despite its popularity in the 1990s.

The festival celebrates Aboriginal culture with traditional rituals and activities, such as traditional bungul dance, didgeridoo music and clapsticks. It also has demonstrations of basket weaving, damper making, and there is even a spear-throwing competition. Daytime activities are sports-filled with basketball and AFL games.

Among the other highlights this year was a concert from Australia’s most popular Aboriginal musician, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, as well as a concert from John Butler.

There were several health stalls present at the festival, such as chemists giving advice on medications and an information stall on the dangers of petrol sniffing. There was also a stall set up by the Northern Territory Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation to field questions from those looking for missing family members.

The Barunga Festival is four hours south of Darwin, and will be on again in June next year.