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The Bagala Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) is a not-for-profit organisation governed by a Board headed up by Traditional Owner and Chairperson Esther Bulumburra.

The Community Store, the Bagala Laundry and Bagala Community Bus are examples of the services the community enjoys due to the work of the Bagala Aboriginal Corporation Board and the support provided by Aboriginal Investment Group (AIG) to ensure sound governance is practiced. Bagala Aboriginal Corporation is on a journey with AIG to achieve a model of self management. The Barunga Festival plays a key role in this journey with the event being handed back to Bagala Aboriginal Corporation. This meant Bagala Aboriginal Corporation had oversight over the event and content.

The Barunga Festival has been an annual event since 1985 with only the 2020 festival not proceeding due to the COVID pandemic. The Barunga Festival attracts both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from near and far to celebrate the uniqueness of remote community life which includes indigenous art, culture, sport, music and dance.

Last years Barunga Festival was significant because 2023 marked the 35 year anniversary of the Barunga Statement and 2. the event was handed back to the Bagala Aboriginal Corporation and community for the first time in 11 years.

Bagala Aboriginal Corporation chose to engage Campaign Edge Sprout to deliver event management, marketing and community consultation. With Bagala Aboriginal Corporation, Campaign Edge Sprout and Aboriginal Investment Group working together, an event program was created which delivered on the BAC Board’s vision and also provided continuity of themes from previous years. The vision to grow the festival was achieved with a record attendance over 5000 people.

The goal: to deliver a safe, inclusive, cultural immersion event that could be measured to best practice at national standards.

Based on feedback, media reports, security team reported no incidents or injuries, and a very happy Bagala Aboriginal Corporation Board, we believe the goal was achieved. The Barunga Festival won the Northern Territory Event of the year at the Australia Events Awards and the Northern Territory Best Business Collaboration and Event of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce Awards.

Features at 2024 festival:

  • Big Rivers AFL game on Friday night to kick off the festival
  • Three days of sports carnivals(ALF, Baseball and softball, Aboriginal Art Market with over 11 registered art centres, cultural workshops and traditional activities such as spear throwing and didgeridoo making.
  • The Northern Territoy’s largest Bungal and traditional Dance group performances from across the Top End Region.
  • School Disco for over 600 children and two big nights of back to back live bands and entertainment
  • MACC Colour Run and the Barunga Cinema,
  • Community Awards, Sports presentations and a unique Camp Dog Challenge

Get your tickets online to avoid disappointment because 2024 is likely to sell out. We have limited tickets for visitors due to the size of the community and the Barunga Festival is becoming a destination for tourists from across Australia.

‘Our Banatjarl Strongbala Wimun Grup held the cultural stall which was fully set up and operated by young ones and elders together. We had all Jawoyn Association input and were able to be showcased in the open corroboree as part of our Reconnecting the Songlines Initiative and having the Chairperson of Jawoyn speak was very important. Community led and open collaboration with all involved.”

“Loved the focus on community, kids and families. Watching the fri afl games with the community was fun & the dance party was a hoot with the community kids competing in dancing/hip hopping.”

“I was interested in Aboriginal culture from a tours perspective, I didn’t expect to participate in it which was awesome and I certainly didn’t expect to be walking into a sports carnival and a rock concert and feeling so welcome”

“I had no idea what to really expect however I have come away with so much more respect for Aboriginal cultural and I loved seeing the next generation step up.

The event impacts the community in the lead up to the event too. For example, the Barunga Beats Dance Party on Friday night has almost become a ‘right of passage’ for the Barunga School kids. The students have the opportunity to participate in workshops facilitated by Monotone Music in the week leading up to the festival which prepares them for DJ performance, sound engineering, music mixing and music selection. This is directly linked to school attendance – if they don’t turn up to the workshop, they cannot participate as DJ at Barunga Beats.

In 2023, the Heart Foundation hosted Jump Rope activities each morning to promote heart health. Heart and skin checks were also available with 2 x doctors attending as part of the Heart Foundations activation which included healthy heart and healthy skin talks. Hence why we say if is not only a 3 day event but an investment in the community.

The economic impact is significant direct to the community with the community store having its best week ever due to the festival. There is a flow on effect with many Territory businesses being engaged by event managers to assist; with lack of infrastructure and facilities, the event is reliant on local business to supply items. Many of whom are generous with their time and often provide a % in kind as part of their social responsibility. The event has the foundation to become a nationally and internationally recognised Aboriginal tourism event; it is accessible, affordable and authentic.