Yothu Yindi Foundation

Garma Festival

The Garma Festival is Australia's largest Indigenous gathering, a 4-day celebration of Yolngu life and culture held in remote northeast Arnhem Land. 

Hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, Garma showcases traditional miny'tji (art), manikay (song), bunggul (dance) and story-telling, and is an important meeting point for the clans and families of the region. 

The Festival's over-riding artistic vision and cultural mission is to provide a contemporary environment for the expression and presentation of traditional Yolngu knowledge systems and customs, and to share these practices in an authentic Yolngu setting.

Come and join us for 4 unforgettable days in the far north of Australia for what many people describe as a 'life-changing experience'.

This year's Garma will take place between Friday 29 July - Monday 1 August, 2022 at Gulkula, a Gumatj ceremonial site about 40km from Nhulunbuy on the Gove peninsula, NT.

Please note that Garma tickets are an inclusive price (tent accommodation and meals). You are unable to bring your own tent or camper or provide your own food. 

See below for more details

Festival Highlights

Bunggul

Each sunset, accompanied by the call of the yidaki (didgeridoo), and the rhythm of the bilma (clapsticks), the voices of the Yolngu song-men ring out across the site, summoning all to the ceremonial grounds. 

Here, the men, women and children of the different clan groups take turns performing traditional dance (bunggul), sharing stories and songlines that stretch back millennia.

Sit back and sink your feet into the dust as you enjoy this spectacular exhibition - or better still, join in the festivities as Yolngu and balanda dance together.

Gapan Gallery

Set among a grove of stringy-bark trees adjacent to the dance grounds, the Gapan Gallery is an open-air art gallery exhibiting works by new and established artists from local and regional galleries. 

Join us under the stars for the Gallery's breathtaking opening on Friday night - an occasion not to be missed.

Key Forum

The 3-day Key Forum policy conference has become Australia's premier platform for the discussion and debate of issues affecting Yolngu and other Indigenous people, attracting political, business, academic, and philanthropic leaders from Australia and overseas. 

Although the conference agenda changes from year to year to reflect the Garma theme, topics such as land rights, health, education, economic development and government funding feature regularly on the program. 

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum runs a 4-day program for children and youth aged 8–18, bringing together schools from across Australia with students from local and regional schools for a range of activities and workshops aimed at building cross-cultural bonds and sharing knowledge. 

This is where we tap into the boundless positivity and creativity of the next generation, harnessing their thirst for knowledge and their innovative ideas and solutions. 

The Youth Forum is a mini-Garma in itself, presenting a jam-packed program with a strong emphasis on developing leadership skills for the next generation of community leaders. Life-long friendships are formed as students partake in sessions that also build skills in mobile journalism, digital media, songwriting, film production and more.  

Cultural Workshops

Facilitated by a star-studded team of our Yolngu hosts, Garma cultural workshops are designed to give guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in different aspects of Yolngu culture, from language and kinship lessons to Yidaki master-classes. 

Choose from an array of workshops and activities that suit your tastes. Learn on country while taking a bushwalk with a local ranger, try your hand at traditional pandanus basket weaving, explore the raark (cross-hatching) technique used for traditional painting, create your own jewellery, or have a go at making a spear. 

Guests are reminded that traditionally, cultural activities will often fall into either men’s or women’s stream, and we ask you to please respect Yolngu protocol by only participating in gender-appropriate activities.

Music Stage

Music has always been a major component of the Festival, showcasing the distinctive Arnhem Land sound that has produced so much musical talent from this part of the world.

Join us after dark each night as the cream of the crop of top-end bands and musicians - and the next generation of emerging young stars - strut their stuff, serving up a tasty platter of Yolngu rock, reggae, rap and more. 

Garma Cinema

As the sun goes down over Gulkula a unique cinematic experience begins at Garma. The Garma Knowledge Centre is the venue to present the latest series of films produced by Indigenous people from Arnhem Land, Australia and the world. Evening screenings in the past have been provided by Blackfella Films, Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival and Mulka Film Projects.

Around the Grounds

From fireside chats, astronomy tours at night, women's healing activities, poetry recitals, tai chi, team sports, free haircuts, collaborative art, the Garma library, and the nightly cinema,  guests are encouraged to stroll the event grounds and mould their own personal Garma journey.

Don't forget to stop by the Garma merchandise shop, where you can take home some great local products while also investing back into the local community.

Yothu Yindi Foundation

Contact Information

Garma Coordinator
0889455055

Website:
https://garmafestival.com.au/

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