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Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures

Updated: 2017-01-08T09:58Z

The Garma Festival of Traditional Culture is an annual festival that is held in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia.[1] It is a celebration of the cultural inheritance of the Yolngu people and cultural inheritance, the aim is at sharing knowledge and culture.[2] The festival site is at Gulkula that is approximately 40 kilometers from Nhulunbuy.[3] The festival attracts around 20 different cultural groups from around Arnhem Land and the Northern Territory.[4]


The first festival began in 1998 as a way of hosting an Aboriginal equivalent of the World Economic Forum.[5] The Garma Festival is a celebration of the Yolngu cultural inheritance. The Garma ceremony is aimed at sharing knowledge and culture, and opening people’s hearts to the message of the land at Gulkula. The site at Gulkula has profound meaning for Yolngu. Set in a stringybark forest with views to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulkula is where the ancestor Ganbulabula brought the yidaki (didjeridu) into being among the Gumatj people. The festival is designed to encourage the practice, preservation and maintenance of traditional dance (bunggul), song (manikay), art and ceremony (Wangga) on Yolngu lands in Northeast Arnhem Land.

The festival is presented by the Yothu Yindi Foundation with the aim to:

  • Provide contemporary programs for the practice, preservation, maintenance of traditional knowledge systems and cultural traditions and practices. This includes traditional dance, song and art.
  • Share knowledge and culture, and fostering greater understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Develop economic opportunities for the Yolngu people. This includes access to education, employment, enterprise and remote Indigenous community development.[6]


  1. ^ Australia’s Yolngu People: Celebrating 40,000 Years. Deutsche Welle. 18 December 2002.
  2. ^ "Garma Festival, Northern Territories.Dates, details". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  3. ^ "Garma Festival, Northern Territories.Dates, details". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  4. ^ "Garma Festival, Northern Territories.Dates, details". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  5. ^ "Garma Festival - About Garma". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  6. ^ "Garma Festival - About Garma". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 

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