In these unprecedented times of COVID, planning and running a festival isn’t easy, yet Red Hot Arts Central Australia (RHACA) is proud to have successfully delivered Desert Festival 2021 to the Alice Springs/Mparntwe community.

Through the eleven day period, this year’s program featured 54 events hosted across 26 venues and sites within Alice Springs! Over 5000 people attended the event and we’re already on the edge of our seats gearing up for 2022, where we can look to get even more members of our community involved.

This year meant jumping through extra hurdles and taking some risks, but we believe enhancing community connection through art is worth it. Turns out, so does our community!

We’ve now had the chance to collate feedback from festival goers, which showed how important Desert Festival is for the community, and the importance of arts festivals to Central Australia.

This year our theme was Lovin’ Local, and our post-festival survey showed us that local really does matter, with the majority of survey participants expressing that their favourite part of the festival was the emphasis on local artists and events.

Survey results also showed how strongly our community values the future of arts festivals, with 85.87% strongly agreeing that it is important for the NT Government to support events like Desert Festival and 93.2% strongly agreeing that the festival was important to them.

“Even though the budget for 2021 was tight due to arts festival funding changes, resulting in reduced funding for the festival, we are proud to have been able to produce a high-quality arts festival, where over 85% of people surveyed felt that Desert Festival was the same or higher overall standard than Parrtjima,” Penelope McDonald, Chair of Red Hot Arts Central Australia.

“Through our annual Desert Festival, Red Hot Arts Central Australia strives to foster community engagement with the arts and increase recognition for Central Australia as a national destination for arts and culture. In turn, this will create exposure opportunities for all the abundance of artistic talent that flourishes right here in our own backyard.”

Desert Festival will return in 2022 and we’re already excited for all that we’ll bring in store next year!

 Desert Festival 2021 feedback highlights

·      93.48% either agreed or strongly agreed that Desert Festival created an opportunity for them to spend time with family and friends.

·      90.21% either agreed or strongly agreed that Desert Festival enhanced their community pride about living in Alice Springs/Mparntwe.

·      96.74% either agreed or strongly agreed that Desert Festival made them feel that the Territory is an accepting and inclusive place.

·      61.96% had attended Desert Festival previously and 38.04% were attending Desert Festival for the first time.

·      9/10 people would recommend attending Desert Festival to friends, family and colleagues.