Held from 31 July – 5 August 2015 in Tennant Creek, the Annual Desert Harmony Festival is an action packed celebration of community, music, food and art, which this year celebrates disability and the NDIS.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is this year’s major supporter as Tennant Creek and surrounding areas are included in the NT’s NDIS trial site.
Federal Disability Minister Mitch Fifield believes that the festival will be a great platform to bring awareness about the NDIS to the people of the region.
“The festival will provide the NDIS Agency the opportunity to engage with the Indigenous community to discuss the transition arrangements for the scheme,” Senator Fifield said.
“The trial site in the Barkly is particularly important as it provides the NDIA with the opportunity to learn how best to work with local communities to provide culturally appropriate disability services in remote areas,” he said.
Festival manager Kathy Burns says that she hopes the festival will give people living with disability a sense of belonging in the community and a chance to discover talents they may not realise they have.
“The festival is all about making sure lots of people engage with each show and that includes people with disability,” Ms Burns said.
“A lot of the time it [disability] is not spoken about, it’s something that the family is ashamed of and so it gets dismissed. But the message we want the festival to put out there is that people with disability, or different abilities, do have a purpose and there are many in our community with remarkable talent.”
Dion Beasley is one such talented community member who is profoundly deaf and has Muscular Dystrophy. At only 23 years of age, he is an accomplished artist whose Cheeky Dog artwork was gifted to Princess Charlotte. He will be taking festivalgoers on a guided cycle tour to the Arts Culture Experience Day at Lake Mary Ann Dam.
The Saturday and Sunday of the festival is all about disAbility, with workshops and performances run by the Deaf Arts Network Dancers, a sand art workshop run by the Aboriginal Disability Network as well as an NDIS disAbility platform for community members and festival goers to learn more about the scheme in a casual and fun environment.
For the sports fans there will a disability round re-match of the Barkly AFL Grand Final between Sporties and Elliot on Sunday 2 August at 1pm where the NDIS will be giving away promotional gear. For those who can’t make it to the game a live webcast will be broadcast.