The Yothu Yindi Foundation Presents: Garma 2023

The Yothu Yindi Foundation Presents: Garma 2023


Words by Annie Parry

Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory just wrapped up on Garma Festival. The annual Garma Festival is a four-day affair to celebrate Yolgnu culture, knowledge and traditions. Hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YTF) since the festival originated in 1999, it’s a community gathering inclusive of ceremony, art, dance, song and music starting on Friday 4 through to Monday 7 August. Chairman Djawa Yunupingu sets the tone for the festival in a powerful statement
“…we will not be held back by our grief because the future is too important” in relation to his late brother, previous chairman and Gumatj clan leader, whom passed earlier this year.
(Yothu Yindi Foundation. 2023.)

The four-day program offers a jam-packed schedule starting with a remembrance gathering on on Friday. Followed by a vast range of different activities from outdoor art exhibitions such as Gapan Gallery, daily performances of traditional Buŋgul dance, and plenty of great music including headliners; King Stingray, J-MILLA and Kee-ahn. 

Image: Youth Yindi Foundation

There is also a significant political agenda to the festival encompassing the discussion of social issues, with sitting prime ministers and First Nations leaders often in attendance. This, in conjunction with the Key Forum, taking place at the Garrtjambal Auditorium, is at the centre of the experience that is Garma Festival. The Key Forum incorporates various panels, the Yolngu Heroes Award, and keynote addresses; including a Saturday appearance by Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia. For it’s 24th year, Garma Festival continues to be at the forefront of both celebration of culture and discussions regarding the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If you have missed out this year, ensure to save the date to make it up North next year!