Since 2019 NAFA has seen 195,991 audience members attend its shows, provided work and artistic opportunities to 3,388 artists and 404 event staff. It has also contributed over $14.9M into the local economy.
Our Story began with the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Townsville was named one of the four Event Cities alongside the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Cairns. During the Commonwealth Games, the Queensland Government provided funding for each event city to create and run an arts and cultural festival – and thus Festival 2018 was born.
The overwhelming response for Festival 2018 from the community really highlighted the need for an annual arts and cultural festival for the northern region. In 2018, Mayor Jenny Hill and the Townsville City Council committed to the creation and continuation of a Townsville festival. From here, the North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) was founded.
In the spirit of Fringe Festivals across the globe – NAFA has an inclusive, organic and open access side that features all forms of art and performance. ‘Open access’ means that unlike most arts festivals, no one is in charge of deciding which shows get to take part. There are no curators, no program directors, no themes or content criteria that artists have to fulfil when registering their show. The festival is formed around the mantra: anyone with a story to tell and a venue to host it. No matter who you are, where you come from or what artform you represent, everyone is welcome at NAFA.
NAFA 2019 was an amazing event and was entered into the prestigious Australian Event Awards. The Australian Event Awards is the national awards program for the events industry. It is the only opportunity for event professionals to compete directly across the nation, and across all facets of the industry, to establish which are Australia’s best events and event-related goods, services and innovations.
The Festival was submitted into three categories, and were nominated as finalists in four categories including Event of the Year:
The Team were so excited when it was then announced we were finalists in all three categories and were over the moon that in the first year of the event we were able to WIN Best Community Event!
“NAFA is a highlight event for not only Townsville, but the entirety of North Australia, and it is a spectacular accomplishment to have the inaugural festival recognised with this award,” Cr Greaney said.
“NAFA was in outstanding company last night and winning the award and being a finalist in two other categories is a testament to the staff and volunteers that worked so hard to bring this experience to the city.”
Cr Greaney said NAFA had been created to cement Townsville’s place as the arts and culture capital of North Australia, and it succeeded.
NAFA 2022 came back from two years of strict COVID-19 restrictions as a roaring success, and deserved entry into the prestigious Australian Event Awards. The Australian Event Awards is the national awards program for the events industry. It is the only opportunity for event professionals to compete directly across the nation, and across all facets of the industry, to establish which are Australia’s best events and event-related goods, services and innovations.
The Festival was submitted into two categories, and were nominated as National Finalists in all categories including Event of the Year:
The Team were extatic when we were announced as the eventual WINNER of Best Regional Event at the awards ceremony on Sydney Harbour!
NAFA was excited to receive Runner Up for Best Major Event at Townsville Enterprise 2022 NQ Tourism and Events Awards. This is a People's Choice award and is voted by the community. We love our Townsville community and are the reason why we keep doing what we do!