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.

“Awesome night at Bush Bands Bash all bands were great, enjoyed it. Good atmosphere, good friends, good bands, all good. Palyalinku.”

Sammy Butcher, Warumpi Band, Luritja Elder

Bush Bands Program is a true collaborative partnership across more than a dozen organisations which all have a single goal in mind: the furthering of Australian Indigenous musicians and musicianship.

In 2013 Bush Bands Bash concert came under the management of MusicNT. This created an exciting opportunity for MusicNT to consolidate the Bush Bands Bash with the Bush Bands Business a skills camp that MusicNT have run in conjunction with the concert since 2010. The result has been rebranded as the Bush Bands Program, and forms an integrated approach to the celebration, support and development of contemporary Indigenous musicians from remote Central Australian communities.

"I travel the country for my work and always hold BBB as a model program for the rest of the country to look at”

 Michael Hutchings, National Indigenous Representative - APRA/AMCOS

“Bush Bands is consistently playing a very important part in creating pathways to and from the heart of the country, connecting people and regions and providing opportunities to a part of Australia that a unique identity and one that is teeming with natural talent.

Drew Goddard, Lead Guitarist – Karnivool

“Aboriginal music is the heart and soul of Australian music culture and needs nurturing. This is what Bush Bands Bash and Business are all about."

Brian Ritchie, Curator-MONA FOMA; Music Curator-Mona, Bassist-Violent Femmes ; Chair-Australian Art Orchestra


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.

Recent Highlights and outcomes include:

  • The first all-female rock band, Ripple Effect from Maningrida took to the stage in 2018
  • Celebrated 15 years of this iconic event in 2018
  • Funding secured from Festivals NT for Strategic Planning
  • Best Live Music Event in the NT (National Live Music Awards 2017)
  • Acts programmed at national festivals including: MONA/FOMA Festival (Tas), Nannup Music Festival (WA), Woodford Folk Festival (Qld), Brisbane Festival (Qld), National Indigenous Music Awards (NT),  Red Dirt Poetry Festival (NT), Commonwealth Games (Qld), Whyalla Arts Festival (SA), Sugar Mountain Festival (VIC), Yabun Festival (NSW) and Perth Festival (WA)
  • Supports Gigs for Midnight Oil Darwin Concert (Irruntyju Band 2018), Violent Femmes National Tour (Rayella 2017)
  • National Tour and Nomination for Australian Music Prize (South East Desert Metal 2018/19)
  • Sugarrush Music partnership to record and tour (Black Rock Band, South East Desert Metal and Patsy Coleman 2018)
  • Arts SA grant for recording and rehearsal studio in Mimili (Moon Band 2017)
  • Creekside Reggae’s song 'Thunder' from the BBB18 CD was scored and arranged for ensemble performance by the NT Music School for the 2019 Beat Festival

“The quality of bands coming through Bush Bands Business is a tribute to the program itself.”

Nicola Pitt, Marketing and Artist Manager - CAAMA Music

Bush Bands 2014



“The Bush Band program is a prime example of a revolving door partnership that connects national music industry to remote artists and supports Aboriginal artists to share their stories and music on a national platform."

Michael Hutchings, National Indigenous Representative - APRA/AMCOS

“The organisation was incredible and the commitment, care and consideration that each mentor and organiser brought to the table was like nothing else I have ever seen (and I have attended tons of workshops and conferences).”

Monique Rothstein, Publicist/Director - Positive Feedback PR

“I was enthralled by how Bush Bands was operated and also by the level of engagement and enthusiasm those attending had, it is clearly a very valued event.“

Phaedra Watts, Festival Director - Nannup Music Festival

“After three intensive days of workshops and rehearsals, accomplished, emotive and confident are words that come to mind in describing the buzz for performers as they take to the stage for Bush Bands Bash.”

Paula ‘jonesy’ Jones, Director – jones PR