Wide Open Space: Zeitgeist goes bush


Central Australia is jiggling with excitement as it prepares itself for its sixth Wide Open Space festival. To those who have not yet had the pleasure, do yourself a favour and take the plunge. For this is a festival unlike any other, a playing field of music, art, and culture, all set in the awe inspiring valley that is Ross River.
“It’s like a Zeitgeist,” festival co-director, Scott Large, explained. On further investigation of what this word actually means we found: a collective understanding, and spirit of the age.
If that doesn’t push your intrigue button, well, what will?! Says Large: “It’s a unique festival. Something for everybody, regardless of what you’re into. It’s a world class venue, with perfect weather. We encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and come add to the family.”
For regular festival goers that frequent the likes of Big Day Out, Homebake or the questionable Future Music Festival, Wide Open Space is in a class of its own.
It hosts a musical line up that will tickle all music lovers’ nooks and crannies, with two main stages as well as “The Lounge that Time Forgot”. Other festival accompaniments will include interactive workshops, cabaret, market stalls and mouth-watering cuisine.
Festival directors, Large, Jimmy Cocking and Rodney Angelo, take its cultural responsibilities very seriously and have incorporated a Welcome to Country ceremony hosted by Ltyentye Apurte custodians. (Evidently the festival’s location is along the same songline as Ltyentye Apurte, aka Santa Teresa).
As an incredible mark of respect for the Traditional Owners of the land, the rest of the festival will be put on pause so all get to be a part of this humbling experience. Certainly hard to miss, but just in case, this will take place “around sundown” on the Saturday.
AT LEFT: Ginger and the Ghost from WOS13. They are performing again this year.
Asked what acts to keep an eye out for, Large animatedly recommends Tom Thum (pictured), “a world champion beatbox wizard,” Thriftworks (electro music producer hailing from California, playing in Oz for the first time), Ginger and the Ghost (experimental pop) and yet another Californian act, Nahko and Medicine for the People (folky rock). We wait in anticipation!
With over 1500 festival goers expected this year, Wide Open Space must be given credit for its boost to local tourism. The festival is now well known nationally and plays host to local, national and international acts.
Take off is Friday May 2 to Sunday May 4. The 5th is May Day so you can rest your weary heads and bodies after the roller coaster that is Wide Open Space.
For those umming and ahhing about whether to go, stop thinking and GO! You will surely not regret it, and who knows, we may meet on the dance floor. 🙂 – Jennifer Rajher and Julia Willson.


  1. You have absolutely captured the essence of Wide Open Space … get excited people … it’s on!

  2. The festival sounds amazing – what a special time it will be and congratulations to those who started it. Sounds like an annual event and something we might think about in timing a visit to Alice Springs.

  3. Thanks for the hot tips and the fun read. Way to get a girl pumping about the coming weekend!


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