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July 15, 2024

Aquarius Festival 50 years on starts tomorrow

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1973 Nimbin Aquarius Festival signpost.

It was 1973 and people around the world were looking at how to live, how to create community, and how to dream a new future. In Australia, the Nimbin Aquarius Festival was an expression of these ideas, principles, and visions. Tomorrow will mark the start of the Nimbin Aquarius 50 Festival which will celebrate its 50th anniversary. 

‘Now from 12 – 21 May, the Aquarius 50 Festival at Nimbin will celebrate the anniversary of this remarkable event and its legacy, including the achievements and challenges of the Nimbin township over half a century, says Michael Balderstone of the Nimbin HEMP Embassy. 

The Dome built at the 1973 Aquarius Festival.

Program and events

The extensive program covers many aspects of the 1973 Aquarius Festival and its impact on the Rainbow Region, and indeed on Australian culture. Each of the ten days of the festival in May are themed as:


Saturday 13: DAY OF THE SPIRIT



Tuesday 16: PROTEST DAY

Wednesday 17: ARTS DAY

Thursday 18: HOUSING DAY

Friday 19: DAY OF THE DEAD

Saturday 20: YOUTH DAY


Experimental building at the 1973 Aquarius Festival. Photo Gary Opit

The program encompasses a wide range of events in and around Nimbin, including in the Nimbin Hall, the Bush Theatre, the Church of Aquarius, Nimbin Community Centre, Nimbin Showgrounds, Birth and Beyond, the World Rainbow Café Tent, Blue Knob Hall and the Nimbin Bowlo, with open days at the Rainbow Power Company, the Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Centre, and the Tunable Falls Cooperative.

The first Welcome to Country was performed at the 1973 Aquarius Festival. Photo Gary Opit

Highlights include:

An Exhibition of the Aquarius Archives; The involvement of First Nations People, including in the Opening Ceremony, and a celebration of the first Welcome to Country in modern times which was conducted at the Nimbin Aquarius Festival; The visit of Philippe Petit, who was at the Aquarius Festival and later went on to achieve international fame with his high wire walks between the Pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Twin Towers in New York; The Aquarius Elders Dinner, where Graeme Dunstan and Johnny Allen will tell their stories of the vision and challenges of the Aquarius Festival, tributes will be paid to Elders no longer with us, and a range of perspectives will be presented on the festival; Ellis D Fogg Free Liquid Lightshow Concert with the Healing Voices Choir, Pagan Love Cult, Liquidelic and more. 

You can check out the program at: www.aquarius50.com.au and buy tickets online https://events.humanitix.com/aquarius50-festival.

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  1. From little things, big things grow. Not all seeds sprout immediately. Not all trees bear fruit for many years. But when an ideas time has come, nothing can stand in the way. It’s time we grew hemp, replaced the toxic sugar and soy, and rebuild an empire based on cannabis, the only crop that can feed us, clothe us, house us, run our engines, power our nation, and build the foundation that will turn to stone, replace the ugly barbed wire fences, and build a permanent place in the sun, that our descendants in a thousand years time will thank us for.


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