Bush Bands Program

The Bush Bands Program brings together two of Central Australia’s premier music industry events. The Bush Bands Bash and Bush Bands Business provide specifically selected Indigenous musicians from remote communities across Central Australia an opportunity to hone their music and performance skills, gain industry knowledge and put it all to practise at an impressive concert in front of thousands. The program runs annually and has resulted in a number of great outcomes for Indigenous music including identifying and supporting young Indigenous band managers and creating opportunities for Bush Bands to tour nationally.

Bush Bands 2017 

The biggest celebration of Aboriginal desert music, Bush Bands received a record breaking number of entries for 2017. The popularity of the competition saw 20 bands from remote communities apply to be part of the 2017 Bush Bands Program. After a difficult selection process, six bands were chosen to participate in the intensive skills development camp, Bush Bands Business. For the first year, three Divas were selected to join the bands alongside the SandTracks touring artists, The Lonely Boys and Irruntyju Band.

Each of the acts then put these skills to work in front of thousands at the 14th annual Bush Bands Bash in Alice Springs on 10 September 2017. 

The 2017 Bush Bands were:

  • Tjupi Band (Papunya community | Luritja language)
  • Red Sand Beat Band (Warburton community | Ngaanyatjarra & English languages)
  • Desert Rain Band (Pipalyatjara community | Pitjantjatjara & English languages)
  • Moon Band (Mimili community | Yankunytjatjara & English languages)
  • Black Rock Band (Manaburduma, Kapalga & Madjinbadi communities | Kunwinjku & English languages)
  • Wampana Band (Yuendumu & Lajamanu communities | Warlpiri, Yolngu, Matha & Gurindji languages)
  • Irrunytju Band (Irrunytju Community, Ngaanyatjarra & Pitjantjatjara Language)
  • The Lonely Boys (Ngukurr Community, Kriol language)
  • Divas (Jessie K, Tash Clarke & Shana Ray)

Tjupi Band
Tjupi Band now with Crystal Butcher on vocals come from Papunya, playing energetic and emotive desert reggae. Tjupi have played with John Butler, headlined the Sand Tracks tour of WA and performed at the Darwin Festival all after being Unearthed by Triple J in 2010.

Red Sand Beat Band
From Warburton Community, Red Sand Beat Band grew up playing music together learning from family and at school from a young age. Since forming in 2011 they have won several Battle of the Bands titles and played with Buddy Knox in 2013.

Desert Rain Band
Newly formed in 2016, Desert Rain Band are the first group in the APY lands to have a female lead vocalist, Katrina Conelly. They’re no strangers to the stage as they perform every Friday in Pipalyatjara Community.

Moon Band
Desmond Woodforde, the frontman of Moon Band has over 30 years experience producing music. Predominantly a singer-songwriter, Desmond has led a number of bands over the years but his passion is for storytelling through music.

Black Rock Band
Coming from Kakadu/West Arnhem, Black Rock Band draw on deep musical family history incorporating traditional and contemporary styles with a steady rock style. They've recently recorded with USA based Rola Pola Studies and released their first single at a sell out show in Melbourne. 

Wampana Band
Walpiri bush reggae band, Wampana Band play a pop version of the classic desert rock reggae. Often heard on Triple J or Double J, Wampana Band are constantly recording and writing new material.

Check out the videos from the 2016 Bush Bands Bash


Check out the videos from the 2015 Bush Bands Bash!