Celebrating 23 years of Desert Festival 

Desert Festival, which originated in 2001 as the Alice Springs Festival, marked Central Australia’s inaugural major annual multi-arts and cultural festival. Initially established by the local community, the Alice Springs Festival aimed to create a nationally recognized umbrella brand for events in the area. Since its inception, the festival has been instrumental in fostering a robust calendar of events in Central Australia and has played a pivotal role in nurturing numerous smaller events that have evolved into prominent festivals today, such as Bush Bands Bash and Desert Song Festival.

In recent times, Desert Festival has broken down barriers by activating local sites, providing a diverse platform for artists, communities, and audiences to unite. In 2021, the festival spanned 26 city-wide locations; in 2022, The Gap View Hotel was transformed into a festival hub, and in 2023, the team took pride in activating Olive Pink Gardens as the festival headquarters. Featuring music, performances, exhibitions, street art, and a variety of evening events, Desert Festival offered an immersive experience for the mind, ears, eyes, body, and soul.

The continued success of Desert Festival has garnered recognition through various awards, including the NT Music Awards 2022 Metro Festival of the Year, the Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business (Non-Profit) in 2022 and 2023, and the 2022 Brolga Award in this category.


Our 2022 theme was BLOOM, highlighting our flourishing desert wildflowers – and desert talent!

Gallery | Full Program | Program (pdf)


Our 2021 theme was Lovin’ Local, where we focused inwards and selected a range of events and experiences that embraced the depth and breadth of arts and culture in Mparntwe.

Gallery | Program (pdf)


Our 2020 theme was ‘Celebrating 20 years of Desert Culture & Art’. We gathered and relished in all things music, theatre, film and art, created right here in our own backyard.

GalleryProgram (pdf)