The Garma Festival won the ‘Educational Programmes – Media’ category in the Sk?l International Ecotourism Awards 2005. The award was announced in Zagreb, Croatia on 17 October. Sk?l is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, with 22,000 members operating in 87 countries. It launched the Ecotourism Awards in 2002, to highlight and acknowledge best practices around the globe.
Garma is a five-day festival of entertainment, education and cultural interaction, providing a cultural tourism and learning experience. It is also the venue for one of the country’s leading forums on Indigenous issues. The eighth Garma festival will be held on August 4-8, 2006.
Set in Gulkula, in a stringybark forest with views to the Gulf of Carpentaria, this is where the Yidaki (didjeridu) was brought into being. The festival is designed to encourage the practice, preservation and maintenance of traditional dance (bunggul), song (manikay), art and ceremony on Yolngu lands in North East Arnhem Land.
Garma is organised by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, a not-for-profit Aboriginal charitable corporation. All attendance fees and other revenues received go to the operation of the Foundation’s programs and projects, such as Garma, for which more than 130 Yolngu are directly employed or trained each year.