Parrtjima: Record crowds for event opening

The uniqueness of Parrtjima – A Festival in Light and the incredible light installations and projected artwork across the MacDonald Ranges is again attracting large crowds to Alice Springs, with a 25% increase on attendance in comparison to the 2018 figures.

Thousands of people from across Australia and the world have converged on the Red Centre since the event opened last Friday, 5 April, with thousands more expected to experience the beauty of Parrtjima before it closes Sunday, 14 April.

The festival’s two precincts, Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall, will come alive on the closing weekend with an exciting program of artworks, light installations, talks, workshops, live music and much more.

Northern Territory Major Events Company General Manager Tim Watsford said, “We are still collating attendance numbers, however early insight suggests we are roughly 25 per cent higher than 2018, which is extremely positive to hear.”

“This is outstanding news not only for everyone involved in the planning and delivery of this event, but for the entire Northern Territory.

“This new data tells us hundreds of extra visitors have made their way to the Red Centre for this spectacular festival, which is a fantastic result for local businesses and the overall economy.

“With another four nights left on the 2019 program, I would urge anybody who hasn’t yet witnessed Parrtjima for themselves to get down to Alice Springs and take advantage of the wonderful light installations, talks, workshops, live music and entertainment on offer in Todd Mall and Desert Park.” said Watsford.

Visitors and locals at will be in for a treat tomorrow night at Desert Park with range of exciting things to see and do including drag queen bingo with Miss Ellaneous, a compelling conversation between Festival Curator Rhoda Roberts AO and iconic singer, musician and songwriter Warren H Williams, and a contemporary dance procession and performance by GUTS. At Todd Mall, people of all ages are welcome to observe the fully-booked dot painting workshop with Maruku Arts.

On Saturday night, West Arnhem-based Black Rock Band and Thomas Mayor discusses what’s next for the Uluru Statement. Tourists and locals also have the opportunity to watch and learn the intricate art of sculpture weaving in Todd Mall as part of a workshop with Tapatjatjaka Arts.

The last night of the festival will see world-renowned Aboriginal rapper Baker Boy take to the stage at Desert Park in what is expected to be an extremely popular performance, with Danzal Baker’s appearance one of the major drawcards of Parrtjima 2019.

Tourists and locals will also have the chance to meet the brains behind Parrtjima, including Northern Territory Major Events Company General Manager Tim Watsford, Festival Curator Rhoda Roberts AO, Lighting Designer Richard Neville and AGB Events’ Producers Rodney Cambridge and Rebecca Elson. A bush food demonstration will also unfold in Todd Mall on Sunday night.

Additionally, the well-attended, nightly language workshops will be held right through to the end of the festival on Sunday.

As the only First Nations light festival of its kind in the world, Parrtjima allows attendees to witness the oldest continuous cultures on earth through the latest technology against the iconic, 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges.

Every single light projection, art installation and program highlight has been inspired by Parrtjima’s 2019 theme of ‘Language Expressions’, derived from the UN Year of Indigenous Languages.