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Spectacular Red Centre festivals to enrich your next business event

Some of the Red Centre's best kept secrets

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So, you’re planning a business event in Central Australia. Have you confirmed the dates yet? If not, have you considered incorporating one of the Red Centre’s spectacular festivals into your event program? Whether it’s major events and performances, or intimate venues and grass roots exhibitions that appeal to you most, from April to October the Red Centre is awash with colour, sound and creativity. Here are a handful of events that are destined to enhance and enrich your next business event in the Northern Territory.

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light

Parrtjima (pronounced Par-Chee-Ma) is a free 10-night festival, starting on 5 April 2019, where stories, languages and art of the Arrernte people light up the Mparntwe (Alice Springs) landscape. The only festival of its kind to explore and celebrate Aboriginal culture through illumination, it features a mesmerising outdoor gallery of light and sound which transforms the Alice Springs Desert Park into an enchanting place of wonder. The magic continues in the Todd Mall in Alice Springs CBD, with art installations, workshops and collaborations with the Arrernte people. Highlights of the festival include:
  • the nightly lighting of the MacDonnell Ranges, a breathtaking lightshow spanning approximately 2 kilometres
  • immersive light installations and soundscapes designed to inspire and educate visitors about ancient Arrernte culture which is still alive and flourishing
  • Arrernte art and works also by Indigenous artists from throughout the Central Desert region and the wider NT
  • talks, film screenings and interactive workshops including spear making and sand painting with local custodians
  • local and internationally acclaimed music acts and live performances, including Yolngu hip-hop artist and rapper Baker Boy – recently awarded 2019 Young Australian of The Year – and singer/songwriter Mojo Juju.

The festival provides a spectacular off-site venue and offers a broad selection of night time activities for conference and incentive groups visiting Alice Springs. Learn more about Parrtjima - A Festival in Light.


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Desert Song Festival

The Desert Song Festival is a multicultural feast for your ears and eyes where singers, musicians and choirs unite. They invite you to join in the celebration of their musical heritage in a series of performances featuring traditional songs and music from Central Australia, Africa, India and the Americas.

From extravagant concerts to small group ensembles and intimate workshops, it’ll be tough deciding which activities to include in your business event program. With such a diverse range of performers and festivities you’ll want to experience them all.

Set in iconic heritage venues around Alice Springs and in stunning natural venues further afield, it’s hard to imagine a better location, than against the backdrop of the MacDonnell Ranges or picturesque Ormiston Gorge, for audience members and performers alike to experience the strong connection between culture, country and song. 

Held 6-15 September 2019, the Desert Song Festival is a must for any business event taking place in Central Australia. Learn more about the Desert Song Festival.


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Henley On Todd Regatta

They say Central Australia’s isolation and remoteness generates a community spirit and quirkiness found nowhere else. And if the Henley On Todd Regatta is anything to go by, it must be true, for where else can you find a waterless ‘boating regatta’ in the middle of the desert, on a dry, sandy river bed? 

Originating in 1962, the Henley On Todd Regatta is a major fundraising event for the Rotary Club, held every August in the Todd River, Alice Springs. On this hilarious day out, you’ll see teams and individual competitors race bottomless ‘boats’ along the dry river bed, plus a wild assortment of other fun competitions and challenges. Local entrants have the opportunity to build their own boat, otherwise all equipment and boats are provided (which is particularly handy if you’re flying in from interstate). Just bring your hat and a sense of humour.

The Henley on Todd is a brilliant team building opportunity for any business event, where participants can share a fun-filled and uniquely Central Australian experience with their colleagues. This year’s event happens on 17 August 2019. To register a team or for spectator tickets click here. Alternatively, Alice Event Management and Consultancy can build a mini ‘Henley-On-Todd Regatta’ team building experience into your event program. Contact the NT Convention Bureau team for more details.


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Field of Light Uluru

Try to imagine 50,000 illuminated spindles, sprouting from the desert sands across an area the size of seven football fields, forming an intricate web of softly coloured lights that somehow seem alive. This is the Field of Light – or Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku which means ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in the local Pitjantjatjara language.

This stunning light installation at Uluru, by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro and hosted by Ayers Rock Resort, has been described as ‘unearthly and uplifting’ by the Daily Telegraph UK and ‘art you feel, rather than art you view’ by The Guardian. 

Located in a remote and secluded part of the resort, the Field of Light has the potential to be a highlight on your business event program. With access only available via an exclusive booking system, the once-in-a-lifetime display provides an unforgettable vision when a field of solar-powered?? spheres “flower” into colour, as pitch black darkness descends. Share drinks, a meal and memorable conversations under a blanket of stars, immersed in the surrounding landscape. A range of viewing options are available for conference and incentive groups.

The Field of Light will be in place until 31 December 2020. For advice on how to incorporate this experience into your business event, visit Ayers Rock Resort website


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Uluru Camel Cup

Step aside Melbourne Cup, let the Uluru Camel Cup show you how it’s done. This multi-award winning event (which donates part of its proceeds to the essential and life-saving Royal Flying Doctor Service) takes place at the Camel Farm in Yulara, near the World Heritage listed landmark Uluru. 


Highlights of the two-day event include:
  • The Camel Cup Calcutta where you can bid on your favourite camel and enjoy a traditional country-style dinner with the locals (Friday night).
  • A full racing program, culminating in the famous Camel Cup race (Saturday)
  • Fashions in the Field, scenic helicopter flights, whip cracking demonstrations, reptile shows, markets and bush games (Saturday).
  • A gala ball under the stars, with live music on a red-dirt dance floor (Saturday night).

A business event featuring a trip to the Uluru Camel Cup offers guaranteed excitement when the camels and their jockeys hit the track. For more information about this event, held 25 May 2019, click here. Alternatively, Uluru Camel Tours can build a mini ‘Uluru Camel Cup’ team building experience into your event program.

The Camel Farm has a permanent racetrack which can be utilised for bespoke camel races by conference and incentive groups. The Farm also offers a multi-purpose entertainment venue with an extensive paved terrace, ideal for small gatherings through to large events involving hundreds of guests. Contact the NT Convention Bureau for information.

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These are just the tip of the iceberg

Regardless of the size of your group or the length of your stay, there’s a Red Centre festival to suit your program. Click here for a full list of festivals and events in the NT. Otherwise, reach out to the NT Convention Bureau for local advice, information on how to incorporate these events into your program and help planning your visit.

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