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First Nations culture at heart of new major WA tourism event

David Prestipino -

First Nations culture will be the focus of a free major homegrown tourism event launched for the first time in Western Australia.

EverNow will run from October 4 to 9 and feature three key elements - Song Circle, Fire Gardens and Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, the latter drawing a crowd of 300,000 people last time it was held at Kings Park during the Perth Festival in 2017 and 2019.

EverNow is the brainchild of the Perth Festival and features three events to be held across several iconic locations across the six days to celebrate WA'a Indigenous culture and heritage.

Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, will see Kings Park transformed by a display of light, sound and projections that will tell the stories of Noongar culture and the beauty and biodiversity of our South West.

Separately, the Supreme Court Gardens will host Song Circle, featuring live performances of First Nations song and dance delivered in a future-focused immersive wonderland.

Rounding out the new event will be Fire Gardens, set at the Government House Gardens, which will be transformed to feature a dreamscape of leaping flames, shadow and wonder.

That event is also free but will require a ticket for entry.

WA Premier Roger Cook said EverNow will run for an initial two years, with the intention for the event to become an annual staple of WA's major events calendar.

"The festival program has been carefully crafted to engage the senses and celebrate our State's rich Aboriginal culture and breathtaking nature, while attracting visitors from far and wide," he said.

Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti, who will officially launch the new event during her first major speech as Tourism Minister at the Ritz Carlton on Tuesday, said it was her mission to create an events calendar that made WA a must-visit destination every month.

"We want to make sure there is a reason to visit Western Australia every month and every season, and that means building a strong calendar of events that offer something for everyone," she said ahead of the speech, where she is expected to outline other strategies such as new accommodation and airline partnerships to boost WA tourism.

"EverNow will add a new dimension to our major events calendar, showcasing the unique attributes of our State and celebrating our rich Indigenous culture and heritage.

"Having major events that are unique to WA helps create a key selling point for visitors to come to our State, explore beyond the city limits and experience all of our tourism attractions."

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said the new homegrown event would create an opportunity for arts and cultural works to be developed and draw visitors to experience the transcendent beauty of WA.

"Grounded on Noongar Boodjar, this event is a fitting celebration of the wonders of Kambarang and presents intimate and lasting moments that reconnect visitors to country," he said.

Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said as the economy slows down, new events and attractions are needed to grow tourism and jobs.

"We welcome the vision for tourism outlined by Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti today, and particularly the focus on facilitating investment in new tourism accommodation and attractions," he said.

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