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Thousands visit Parrtjima – A Festival in Light in Alice Springs on opening weekend

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Parrtjima – A Festival in Light saw thousands of attendances over opening weekend as visitors flocked to Alice Springs to be immersed in culture and art.

Opening night of the annual free 10-day festival, which features light installations, artworks, performances, music, and talks, attracted more than 3000 attendances, the second highest opening night since Parrtjima began in 2016. Across the weekend the festival attracted over 8000 attendances. Parrtjima 2024 will run until 21 April.

Northern Territory Major Events Company CEO Suzana Bishop said the strong turn out over the opening weekend had shown the appetite for people to learn about Aboriginal culture.
“Parrtjima continues to captivate and amaze visitors, and this year is proving to be no different. With the second biggest opening night on record, the excitement is evident, highlighting the genuine enjoyment people experience at this event,” Mrs Bishop said, underlining Parrtjima’s profound impact on community engagement, social cohesion, and cultural exchange.
Highlights of opening weekend included a high-energy performance by Jeremy Whiskey and the unique First Nations sound of Bunna Lawrie and Coloured Stone. Casii Williams lifted everyone’s spirit with her special song during the Opening Ceremony and award-winning singer-songwriter Shellie Morris also took to the stage.
Shellie joined Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts AO for the talks program as did actor and screenwriter Aaron Fa’aoso, social justice activist Dr Josie Douglas and young creatives, Declan Miller and artist Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan.

Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts AO said this year’s theme, interconnectedness had resonated with visitors.
“Parrtjima is about sharing Aboriginal culture and this year’s theme tells the story of how everything that surrounds us is connected, shaping the landscape and who we are,” Ms Roberts said.
The six-metre tall puppet, Arelhe Urrperle by visual theatre wizards Erth Visual and Physical Inc, also new in 2024, delighted people of all ages sharing language and stories. This initiative involved expert puppeteers who trained local Indigenous performers in puppet operation, fostering community involvement and upskilling.

This week includes more music and talks with Miiesha to take to the stage on Friday for both a talk and to perform and rising stars, who opened for KISS during their Australian tour Mulga Bore Hard Rock to play on Saturday evening.

Parrtjima favourites returned with a new twist, with the MacDonnell Ranges Light Show illuminating the 300-million-year-old landmark. The ranges show this year incorporated sails into the foreground expanding the natural canvas. Grounded, which animates the red dirt is bigger with a projection on the side of containers. In addition, crowds were enchanted by the 3D effects of Tjoritja Cockatoos and the incredible story of the late Dr MK Turner OAM at The Honouring installation.