Save the Date: 'Parrtjima — A Festival In Light' Will Dazzle the Red Centre Again in April 2024

This spectacular First Nations festival will light up Alice Springs for another year, but with a different team delivering its events.
Sarah Ward
Published on August 03, 2023

Head to the Northern Territory at any time of year and Uluru awaits, as well as the Tjoritja gorges and Kings Canyon. So does stunning new nightly light show Wintjiri Wiru, plus Bruce Munro's Field of Light and Light Towers installations. But only a visit in April involves basking in Parrtjima — A Festival In Light's stunning glow — and, if you're keen to head along to its next event, the must-attend First Nations arts, culture and storytelling festival has just locked in its 2024 dates.

The region's luminous Indigenous arts fest will return from Friday, April 12–Sunday, April 21, as once again set against the 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges. It's too early for program specifics, but it'll look stunning as always no matter what's on the bill. There will be a big change, however: a different team delivering Parrtjima's 2024 events behind the scenes.

While the details there haven't been unveiled as yet either, the new partner will combine "innovative technologies with traditional storytelling methods," as per the festival's announcement — and is also someone with "a proven track record in creating bold and creative experiences".

Rhoda Roberts AO will still curate the festival, with 2024's theme set to focus on interconnectedness and its importance in Aboriginal cultures.

"Everything is living in Aboriginal culture and in the old ways, the approach was one of sharing and working together," said Roberts.

"Our ancestors were living under strict social structures and belief systems where everything was interrelated from the land and waterways to our sky country. Along with resilience that's tinged with laughter, interconnectedness blankets the wisdom of generations that we are reminded to experience and absorb."

If you're new to Parrtjima, which just might be Australia's most luminous festival, it features installations in breathtaking surroundings, plus music, talks, films, workshops and more. 2023's focus was 'Listening with Heart', as inspired by the artwork surrounding the Statement from the Heart — with that piece depicting Uluru-Ku Tjukurrpa, the Uluru story of connection, as created by a group of artists from Multijulu as led by Maruku artist Rene Kulitja. So, Kulitja worked with other of artists for Parrtjima to turn the Statement from the Heart artwork into a large-scale immersive light and sound installation.

Accordingly, Parrtjima attendees were plunged in the world of the Aṉangu people of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands surrounding Uluru. This year's festival installations featured ancient songlines, plus Indigenous viewpoints on Country, as well as connecting to First Peoples' strong links with the land, water and sky.

Two things that are also always on the bill: two of the festival's regular annual attractions, aka a huge artwork that transforms a 2.5-kilometre stretch of the majestic ranges, showering it with light each night of the festival; and Grounded, the installation projected over the red dirt at tourism and conservation facility Alice Springs Desert Park.

As for the music program, 2023's lineup overflowed with First Nations talent, including Docker River Band, Eastern Reggae Band, Emily Wurramara, JK-47, KAIIT, Karnage and Paul Ah Chee — and Radical Son, Richard J Frankland, Discovering Leerpeen Mara, Rowdy Birds, The Andrew Gurruwiwi Band and The Merindas.

Details of each year's fest usually start dropping late in the year prior — we'll update you with more of what's in store for 2023 as it's announced.

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light will return from Friday, April 12–Sunday, April 21, 2024, at venues around Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. For more information, visit the festival website.

Images: Parrtjima – A Festival in Light.


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Published on August 03, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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