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The DESERT FESTIVAL is back in 2017. Responding to the rhythm of Central Australia, the Festival creates a fleeting utopia, peering to some possible futures of the region. Offering both exuberant public space events and more intimate, deep-diving experiences, the program is set to stimulate and engage locals and visitors alike from 18 August to 7 September.

Opening with Mermaids’ Picnic, a fresh partnership with the Henley-on-Todd Regatta that launches the Alice Springtimeseason of events, the Festival brings three weeks of positive civic engagement to Alice Springs.

The Desert Gardens will be the beating heart of the Festival. A pop-up venue created from a completely transformed car park, it offers a curated program of experiences presented in partnership with Yeperenye Shopping Centre and regional arts organisations. It is the place to go for entertainment with two stages, free workshops, and food and beverage options, not to mention the place to meet friends, plan your night, and book tickets.

Exploring the human capacity to ADAPT and embracing Alice Springs’ position as the capital of inland Australia, the Festival responds to its location as the place where people from around the Central Desert and beyond gather to share experiences and be part of active change.

Designed to offer diverse entry points for diverse audiences, the program features a strong component of local and NT artists providing performance, visual arts, music, film, and more, with visiting artists and projects offering global perspectives.

Expect live art in public spaces, the best local music, highlights from the Japanese Film Festival, stand-up comedy, percussive dance, a wearable arts retrospective, workshops for young and old, Expression Sessions – a brand new initiative offering local performers the opportunity to share their talents – and much more.

Tickets are available online through this website, and also in person at the Visitor Information Centre in Todd Street Mall, and through The Desert Gardens Box Office from Thursday 24 August.


The DESERT FESTIVAL is an initiative of Red Hot Arts Central Australia and is now in its 16th year. Red Hot Arts Central Australia is a creative hub that fosters arts innovation, development, collaboration, and entrepreneurship in Alice Springs, providing advocacy, leadership, and capacity building.

Desert Festival welcomes approaches from potential partners, sponsors, artists and collaborators.  We are supported by: NT Government, Arts NT, Festivals NT, Tourism NT, Alice Springs Town Council, Yeperenye, Festivals Australia.

18 August7 September 2017
Alice Springs, various locations
Free and ticketed events