A renowned event on the national festival calendar, the Barunga Festival has a rich history of celebrating the best of remote Indigenous Australia. During the three-day long weekend in June every year, this cherished Territory festival attracts an audience of 4,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from all over the world to camp out and participate in a schedule of music, sport, traditional arts, and cultural activities. They are warmly welcomed by the traditional owners.
Through football, basketball, softball, music (both contemporary and traditional), traditional arts, and culture, the Festival has a long history of showcasing the Katherine area and encouraging distant indigenous people to unite and celebrate the positive aspects of communal life. All ages of guests are invited to take part in the celebrations and take advantage of this exceptional chance to interact with a distant Indigenous village.
In 2022, this cherished Territory event promises to offer an amazing program of music, sport, culture, art, dancing, circus, kid-friendly events, workshops, nutritious food, and many more festive treats.
Bangardi Lee, the head of the Bagala tribe, initiated the Barunga Festival in 1985 in the isolated Aboriginal settlement of Bamyili. Aboriginal leaders gathered in Barunga in 1988 to present Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the Barunga Statement, which called for a treaty. Sadly, although being signed by Prime Minister Hawke during his visit to the Festival, the statement was never presented before Parliament. As a result of this meeting at the Barunga Festival, Yothu Yindi went on to pen the international smash song “Treaty.”