With less than two months to go, the full line-up of events forming the Dark Sky Festival has been unveiled as preparations for the April 20 total solar eclipse intensify.
The four-day festival will take place across the shires of Exmouth, Carnarvon and Ashburton to celebrate the rare, global spectacle which is happening right in our own backyard.
Thousands will flood to the region, which will offer the world’s best views of the eclipse, with accommodation in the main towns more or less sold out.
Live music, family-friendly activities, unique dining experiences, stargazing tours and photography lessons for budding astronomers are all part of the Dark Sky festival program.
The festival will include the inaugural Jamba Nyinayi Festival, a Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation event hosted by traditional owner Hazel Walgar at Cardabia Station near Coral Bay on April 19. It will feature a drone show by Fremantle Biennale with storytelling from traditional owners as well as local and original Indigenous music, dance, food and fire.
Music lovers will be able to enjoy live performances from local and Perth musicians over three days at SolFest to be staged at Exmouth’s Talanjee Oval from April 19-21. SolFest is free to attend for those with existing accommodation in Exmouth.
A seaside seafood barbecue will be held in Exmouth, as well as a “Totality Brunch” at the town’s yacht club.
Fremantle Biennale’s Aboriginal-inspired drone show will also take place on Exmouth’s Town Beach in Exmouth on April 20.
The program also consists of a series of stargazing sessions with Astrotourism WA astronomy guides, an astrophotography exhibition and workshops, SciTech STEM-based activities for children and public talks, including from popular WA astronomer Greg Quike.
Carnarvon will host the April 2023 Rocks Carnarvon Festival from April 15-22, which will offer community star gazing, virtual reality experiences, Aboriginal night sky stories with bush tucker and a day-long music festival on April 20.
The eclipse will occur over a three-hour period, with totality — when the sun, moon and Earth align — expected at 11.29am in Exmouth.
Exmouth will experience 100 per cent of the eclipse, while Onslow and Coral Bay will experience 99 per cent darkness and Carnarvon about 95 per cent,
The McGowan Government has invested almost $22 million to prepare for the eclipse, including improving the region’s infrastructure.
Tourism Minister Roger Cook said the Government was committed to making the eclipse and surrounding events a memorable experience for visitors and creating a “lasting legacy” for Exmouth, Carnarvon and Ashburton shires.
“The eclipse is not only going to be an extraordinary and rare astronomical event. It will also be an experience to remember for visitors who spend time in the region,” he said.
“This festival will also act as a celebration of Aboriginal tourism and culture, and Western Australian food and wine, for the lucky visitors already heading to the Shires of Ashburton, Carnarvon or Exmouth for the solar eclipse.”
Ticketed events for Dark Sky Festival went on sale last week. For more information, visit ningalooeclipse.com.