Walking with Spirits Festival 2016

Saturday 23 July 2016

The land has spoken and we must listen, says Tom E. Lewis

Artistic Director of Walking With Spirits festival Tom E. Lewis has announced that for the first time in 14 years, in order to preserve the pristine wilderness that surrounds Beswick Falls, this year’s Walking with Spirits festival will be brought into community so it can allow the sacred country of Beswick Falls to rest.

“The land has spoken and we must listen. A well-earned rest is necessary this year so that the land can retain its spirit and invite us back again next year. We must honour the land,” says Tom.

To be held on Saturday July 23rd this year’s Walking With Spirits Festival is welcomed back into the remote Aboriginal community of Beswick [100km from Katherine]. The community is pleased to invite visitors onto their home country so that they can share in celebrating culture at the launch of their new cultural precinct. An official launch will be conducted at 1pm during the festival and is a perfect opportunity to connect with community as the Morning Star Pole is raised in a traditional ceremony.

Regarded as one of this country’s most spiritually spectacular Aboriginal cultural festivals the day will also feature corroborree, dijeridu workshops, weaving workshops all leading up to the excitement of the evening’s big concert.

Great food, coffee and a fantastic range of local art will be available for sale onsite. A new museum collection featuring augmented reality tours will also be opened for visitors.

All this makes for an experience of unforgettable cultural connection and tranquillity to experience the magic that is Walking With Spirits and to share in ancient ceremonies and vibrant culture on a land where it is said that the shadows of the Aboriginal songmen and dancers flicker in the firelight.

Bunna-Clay-pan-webEmily-Wurramara-webMalu-Kiai Mura BuaiGawurra-web

Known for celebrating traditional dance and music from the region, this year’s musical line-up will showcase two rapidly rising stars. After much consideration, Gawurra has chosen to premiere his live concert performance of his highly praised debut album Ratja Yaliyali at the Walking With Spirits Festival.

It makes so much sense for someone as spiritually toned as Gawurra to premiere this beautiful body of music at Walking With Spirits,”says the festival’s Artistic Director Tom E. Lewis.

Joining Gawurra is the rapidly rising star from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Groot Eylandt’s – vivacious Emily Wurramara. Fresh from an East Coast tour of her debut E.P Wake Up, Emily has been enjoying chart success across the Community Radio Network as her profile continues to rise across the media landscape. Closing what is set to be a spectacular night will be Beswick’s favourite band the legendary Bunna Lawrie & Coloured Stone – a band who always gets the crowd dancing under the moonlight.

Where: Beswick Community is located 107km south-east of Katherine drive south on the Stuart Highway for 51km, turn left into the Central Arnhem Road and drive 56km to Beswick Community.


Adult Festival Ticket $50
Child (15 years and under) Festival Ticket $30
Camping Site (1 tent) $50
Ticket to Basket Weaving or Dijeridu Class $50

Workshops: 3pm -5pm on Saturday the 23rd of July and 10am – 12pm on Sunday the 24th of July.

Please note transaction fees and credit card fees applies.

School Groups: All school group bookings must be made by contacting the ASC office on (03) 8676 7511 or emailing schools@shakespeareaustralia.com.au.

Food: Food will be available from 11am Saturday, lunch and snacks;  from 5pm for dinner and from 9am on Sunday for brekky/brunch

Conditions of Entry: Please click here for the conditions of entry.


Important Information and FAQ

DATES:  Saturday the 23rd of July, 2016

How do I get there?
Beswick Community is located 107km south-east of Katherine drive south on the Stuart Highway for 51km, turn left into the Central Arnhem Road and drive 56km to Beswick Community. Follow the signs to the Ghunmarn Cultural Centre (the red two storey building) to receive your pass.

Where do I go when I arrive?
When you arrive at Beswick all patrons must go to the Ghunmarn Culture Centre (on the right hand side of the main road).  Here you will exchange tickets (or collect them if you opted for box office collection at the time of purchase) for your weekend wristband.

Please note: There is a Volatile Substance Abuse Management Plan (VSAMP) that prohibits Regular unleaded petrol from being brought into the Beswick Area (including the roads leading to the Walking With Spirits camp site).  Diesel vehicles are ok.  If you have a petrol car you must have Low Aromatic Fuel (LAF or Opal) in your tank unless you were not able to purchase LAF (i.e. if you enter via Mataranka).  In Katherine you can purchase LAF from BP, Shell or Woolworths petrol stations, failure to do this can mean a fine or imprisonment.  The VSAMP can be found at:
http://www.health.nt.gov.au/library/scripts/objectifyMedia.aspx?file=pdf/83/92.pdf&siteID=1&str_title=Beswick (Wugularr) VSA Management Plan.pdf

Do I need to arrange an entry permit to enter Aboriginal land?
Beswick community is on the Beswick Aboriginal Land Trust and its traditional owners are the Jawoyn people. Permits are normally required but are WAIVED FOR THIS EVENT ONLY. Please respect this area and the people who belong to it.

Can we bring alcohol?
Alcohol is not permitted at all and is not available to purchase. Please note that sections of the road to Beswick and the community itself operate under specific liquor laws and the police can impound your vehicle if alcohol is found and you may be fined. Please respect the wishes of the community and do not bring alcohol to the event.

What are the camping arrangements?
Camping is limited and must be booked with tickets. Campers must be self-sufficient. Toilets will be provided, limited showers, but please bring food, insect repellent and sun protection. First aid and ambulance will be available on site. There is a health clinic at Beswick Community and the nearest hospital is in Katherine.

Are there hotels or motels?
If you do not intend to camp at Beswick we recommend booking accommodation in either Katherine or Mataranka.

Will there be food and drink for sale?
Food from our fantastic new café kitchen will be available from 11am Saturday, lunch and snacks; from 5pm for dinner and from 9am on Sunday for brekky/brunch. Limited supplies are available from the local store.

Can I photograph or record the performance?
Photography or audio visual recording of any kind is not permitted during the
performances on Saturday night.

Will I be able to buy artwork or souvenirs?
Original paintings, baskets, didgeridoos, mats and other pieces of indigenous fine art will be available for sale at the Ghunmarn Cultural Centre in Beswick.

I’ve read the FAQ but still have a question, who do I ask?
For further information call 03 8676 7511 (Victoria) or if from interstate call 1300 122 344 (cost of a local call).

Alternatively email your query to admin@shakespeareaustralia.com.au


Walking With Spirits would like to thank Festivals NT and the Northern Territory Government for their support

Caritas Australiafestivals-australia-logo


Walking With Spirits wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of the following organisations.



Walking with Spirits is powered by Djilpin Arts and the Australian Shakespeare Company