Drums and songs open Alice desert festival

·1-min read

Hundreds of people have gathered for the opening night of the Alice Springs music festival Desert Song.

"It's electric, it brings the community together, it's socially transforming," Director Morris Stuart told AAP.

The event kicked off with jamming in Todd Mall before a "climate caravan" of performers made their way to the Flynn Lawns at sunset, for a night of music with a climate change theme.

Mr Stuart believes the 10 day festival will be life changing for the audience, almost half of whom travel to Alice Springs from the eastern states.

"A lot of people come away from the festival with a whole new life view, it is definitely personally transforming," he said.

The annual event, which has been running in and around Alice Springs for almost a decade, has featured more than 1200 performers over that time, and attracted an audience of almost 100,000.

It's returning after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic.

A highlight of the 2022 program is Spinifex Gum, a collaboration between the Cat Empire's Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill and the Marliya Choir.

The choir is made up of Indigenous women from Cairns conducted by Lyn Williams with choreography by Deborah Brown.

Mr Stuart said the festival would enable people to gain an understanding of 60,000 years of occupation by First Nations people in the central desert.

"Connect with their land, their lore, their culture and languages, and discover something new about what it means to be an Australian," he said.

The Desert Song Festival runs from September 9-18.