Oz Fest launched in India on September 18

Australia to host major cultural festival in India 26 Projects | 75 events | 20 cities | 203 days

18 September 2018. Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency Ms Harinder Sidhu, today unveiled the program for Australia Fest – a six-month celebration of Australian culture, involving over 75 events across 20 cities in India.

“Beginning this September, Australia’s culture, creativity and dynamism will be on show across India. Australia Fest events will feature music, art, food, film, literature, dance, theatre, sport and much more,” announced Ms Sidhu.

Highlighting the festival’s significance, Ms Sidhu said, “It has long been my conviction that connections between people will be the defining feature of the Australia-India relationship. With Australia Fest, we aim to deepen the engagement between our two countries and further strengthen our people-to-people ties.”

Bangarra Dance Group. Pic Courtesy Daniel Boud

The centrepiece of Australia Fest will be the tour of Bangarra Dance Theatre, with performances in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Bangarra is Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance company, internationally acclaimed for combining more than 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with powerful contemporary dance, immersive soundscapes, music and design.

Master Chef Judge Gary Mehigan.  

Other highlights include a series of interactive food and beverage demonstrations by MasterChef Australia judge Gary Mehigan; soulful fusion of modern Australian jazz with West Bengali folk music by The Three Seas; a showcase of collections by acclaimed Australian fashion designers using Indian handloom textiles at Amazon India Fashion Week; the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow featuring some of Australia’s wittiest comedians; the best of Australian cinema at various film festivals across India; the launch of the Australian Open International BallKids program in India; and much more.

We Are Kindred – Australian Fashion at Amazon India Fashion Week

Aaron Chen -Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow. Pic by Jim Lee.

At the event, Ms Sidhu launched the festival website and also introduced three Australia Fest Ambassadors, Australian cooking sensation Gary Mehigan, and renowned Australian author John Zubrzycki whose latest book Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns: A Magical History of India is a cultural, social and political history of Indian street and stage magic, and well-known music composer and Australian alumnus Raghav Sachar.

Mel Buttle – Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow. Pic Jim Lee.

“When it comes to food, the people of India must be the most passionate I’ve met ”“ and I know they’re also some of MasterChef Australia’s most loyal fans! So I’m very excited to return to India as an Ambassador of Australia Fest, where we’ll be showcasing a selection of the freshest and tastiest ingredients Australia has to offer,” said Gary Mehigan, who joined the launch event via video link.

John Zubrzycki said, “Initiatives such as Australia Fest will be incredibly significant in fostering cultural ties between India and Australia and therefore in strengthening and enriching the relationship overall. I’m particularly excited in being involved in this year’s event with my book that examines the influence of India’s vibrant magical traditions on popular culture globally.”

Raghav Sachar in a video message said, “Australia Fest offers this fantastic opportunity to Indians to experience Australian culture and creativity. I had the good fortune of studying in Australia and it changed my complete perspective towards life. I am delighted to be on board as Australia Fest Ambassador to launch this great initiative that celebrates India and Australia relationship.”

Complementing the official Australia Fest program are various community outreach activities. Bangarra Dance Theatre will undertake a variety of community engagement opportunities with Indigenous groups in Aizawl, Bhopal and Purulia. Australian World Orchestra and acclaimed soprano Deborah Cheetham AO will conduct a series of masterclasses and workshops, while MasterChef Australia judge Gary Mehigan is set to bring the famous Mystery Box Challenge to one lucky community group in Mumbai.

Australia Fest started on 18 September 2018 and concludes on 30 March 2019.


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