THE Edge Fest

A Taste of THE Edge at Lightning Ridge 2021

In late 2019 a group of people, passionate about the creative arts in remote communities and providing community capacity building through activating arts and culture, came together to discuss the idea of a new Festival in Lightning Ridge and the Walgett Shire.

Then, with COVID 19 impacting the opportunities for artists and performers, quick opportunities arose for funding to be secured through a collaboration with Outback Arts and, with thanks to Create NSW, an idea became a 6 week program delivered within 8 weeks of notification of funding!

Wanting to give ourselves ‘room to grow’ we called it A Taste of THE Edge and was a 6 week program in Lightning Ridge, offering a range of events to help participants explore, create and experience ‘the edge’ 

There is no transformation without THE Edge. We celebrate the fringe dwellers, the margins and the edge through creativity, culture, healing, capacity building and collective action. 

This is the beginning of a new kind of community Festival without limits and a celebration of a THE Edge.

edge festival logo

Images courtesy of: Vikki Murray, Oliver, Donna Mason, Cindy Campbell, Jamie-Lea Trindall, Mel & Susie, Warren Mason, Rebel Black,

There were 14 key events hosted between 20th March and the 2nd May 2020 ranging from family history through to Qi Gong, song writing and translation and musical performances in language and by nationally recognised and emerging artists.

9 local spaces were activated locally, including laneway gigs, construction of a new intimate performance venue called Tin Camp Studios. We collaborated with other festivals and congruent activities including Baiame’s Ngunnhu Festival in Brewarrina, the Dubbo Fringe Festival and the Warrangu River Story Tour and the school students were beneficiaries of a number of programs including spin offs from performers travelling for the Festival.

A total audience size of just under 800, THE Edge Fest provided employment to 91 contractors

Images courtesy of: Vikki Murray, Oliver, Donna Mason, Cindy Campbell, Jamie-Lea Trindall, Mel & Susie, Warren Mason, Rebel Black,

The 6 week program provided:

  • mentorship opportunities for youth in music and poetry
  • paid performing and mentorship opportunities for artists affected by COVID-19
  • wellbeing opportunities for artists and community through workshops, connection and the arts.
  • stimulus for the Lightning Ridge economy and support COVID recovery by providing a series of related events and extending the existing Lightning Ridge tourist season.
  • An introduction to THE Edge festival to Lightning Ridge and surrounds
  • mentorship to the Festival team via Akoostic



  • All children at Lightning Ridge Central School participating in “Poetry is for everyone” workshops with Outback Poets Mel & Susie and Jimmy Little Foundations “Uncle Jimmy’s Thumbs Up program” with Buzz Bidstrup (Angels, Ganga Jang), Dean Ray (X Factor) and Josh Needs (JJJ Unearthed)
  • Attracting a mix of local, regional and national high quality artists to Lightning Ridge
  • Providing workshops for community members with many performances.
  • The Warrangu River Story discussion panel – hearing a young Aboriginal woman talking the next day about how inspired she was by the discussion and how wonderful it was to hear that other people living cross culturally had similar experiences to her and were finding success.
  • The connections and sharing created with Brewarinna’s  “Baiame’s Ngunnhu Festival”, Wingham’s “Akoostic Music Festival” and Dubbo’s inaugural “Fringe Festival”.
  • Llaney Webb, debuting at Dubbo Fringe Festival as a result of being involved with the festival
  • Workshops resulting in the construction of a permanent, outdoor, intimate, cross cultural performance venue at the Hungry Spirit
  • Sharing of Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges in a safe space – including building practices, song and stories
  • The delivery of a 10 day wellbeing program 
  • The seeds planted for a regular “Edge Festival” for Lightning Ridge and surrounds

Images courtesy of: Vikki Murray, Oliver, Donna Mason, Cindy Campbell, Jamie-Lea Trindall, Mel & Susie, Warren Mason, Rebel Black,


  • Regional Flooding and mice plague – their impact on both the organisational team and the ability to grab the attention of audiences as they dealt with the stresses that these events presented.
  • Lead up time – time from notification of receiving grant to delivery date requirements especially on early workshops. 
  • Engaging audiences – 
    • the need for a designated marketing person was identified early, but time restrictions made it difficult to recruit, resulting in existing team members taking on the role in addition to existing responsibilities.


Stay tuned for our 2022 plans and for any upcoming performances and events! 


You can read the full program HERE 


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