NAFA successfully debuted in 2019 with over 100,000 people attending a range of events and ticketed shows – not including Strand Ephemera and HALO, with tens of thousands of people showing up for the final weekend of HALO alone.

There were 21 sell-out shows in the Wonderland Spiegeltent with 23,000 people attending ticketed NAFA events, and more than 300 events made up the NAFA program. Over 600 performers, artists, musicians, comedians, dancers and more were involved in the NAFA program with hundreds of others involved in Northern Fringe Festival Events.

Below are some highlight events that made 2019 such a wonderful and successful event!

Festival of Stories

Townsville’s Festival of Stories 2019 was a repositioning of the previously successful Savanah Writer Festival presented by Citilibraries Townsville bringing local, national & internationally renowned authors, presenters and storytellers to Townsville to entice people to explore, challenge and enjoy storytelling in all its forms. Usually stand-alone, Festival of Stories this year joined many other art sectors to be included in NAFA. Festival of Stories was well supported with 3054 people attending 49 events and programs over the month of July.  

Strand Ephemera

Strand Ephemera began in 2001 and has become a much-loved biennial exhibition. The event has grown over the years to be celebrated not only locally, but to be an outdoor sculpture exhibition of state and national significance. This year Strand Ephemera reached over 130,000 visitors during the 10-day display period.


As part of the Townsville2020 clear vision for our city, a long-term concept plan for activation of Castle Hill was completed. A series of projects were identified for immediate delivery, including lighting of the rock face of the hill in a ‘vivid’ style light show.

Townsville City Council commissioned AGB Events, the creators of Sydney’s Vivid Lightwalk, to create and produce this new experience to Townsville. HALO illuminated Townsville through a series of light art installations and lighting treatments in Queens Gardens and Castle Hill, over 17 fantastic nights.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music

In 2019, AFCM featured internationally acclaimed classical musicians, masterclasses and signature events across multiple venues throughout Townsville and on the beach settings of Orpheus and Magnetic Islands. The Queens Gardens Concert was a huge success, with 5000 attendees enjoying a variety of entertainment, not all of it chamber music.

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo

Reflections on Mabo celebrated the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture. The exhibition brings together 26 indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 27 years after the historic achievement. The artworks come together in surprising ways, with reverence, compassion, anger, sadness and respect, celebrating a man who was both a rebel and a dreamer.


Dancenorth and Townsville’s percussion community of 100 drummers came together to thump out a scintillating live score composed/director by King Social’s costa Hagiaflou. NOISE was a gathering of united force of percussive energy and powerful dance designed to pull audience members into present moment, to wholly captivate attention and energy.