Paanja draws record crowds

Paanja draws record crowds

Paanja draws record crowds 492 512 Layla Kirchhoff

Over the weekend the Paanja Festival was held in the pristine top end town of Mapoon, proudly supported by Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council.

Over four days more than 3000 festival goers rocked out to local and national bands at the 55th anniversary.

The festival commemorates the forced removal of Indigenous people from Mapoon in 1963, and currently sits right up there amongst the four best events in the Cape York peninsula area, along with Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival and Cooktown Discovery Festival.

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Ms Naseem Chetty says along with Laura, Pannja is an excellent event to experience the rich Australian Indigenous culture.

“This event is blossoming; we have had record crowds attend, stellar performances and a truly unique vibe this year at Paanja,” says CEO Chetty.

“This year’s event surpassed all expectations and the festival, (contributing an estimate of over $1.3 million annually to the local, remote economy), has truly come of age.”

“Everyone involved had an incredible time, from stall holders to Council support staff, from attendees to artists.”

Mayor Aileen Addo says, it’s been another amazing festival with overwhelming positive feedback from our artists and crowd alike.

“Mapoon has come alive, Paanja is a colourful, cultural celebration, showcasing our heritage as well as some amazing traditional dance performances from across Australia.”

“It is wonderful to see Paanja grow; from a local community festival to an internationally recognised event where artists are reaching out  – keen to be a part of the unique experience.”

And, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council is working hard to deliver for the region; supporting and establishing events like Paanja to shift the region towards greater ownership, empowerment and prosperity.

“Paanja instils great pride and cultural knowledge to all guests that attend, while advancing real employment opportunities for our local creatives and our families – we are blessed to live in one of Australia’s most authentic regions.”

Paanja Festival 2023 aims to be even bigger and better, visit for more information