The Smarter than Smoking Garnduwa Festival is Garnduwa’s flagship event, as well as being Western Australia’s premiere Indigenous festival. It is essentially a contemporary, modern day version of the traditional Aboriginal Corroboree. The festival has been held annually since 1992 and is always held in Fitzroy Crossing (apart from one in Looma in 1994).
Everyone asks what the name Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan actually means. It is an amalgamation from three of the local languages of Fitzroy Crossing, the Broome Peninsula and the East Kimberley and means a ‘big mob of people getting together to do something’. The Smarter than Smoking Garnduwa Festival is exactly this – the physical embodiment of the organisation’s name.
The festival is a four day celebration of cultural and traditional music and dance, contemporary music and youth artistic expression. It is an opportunity for remote Indigenous residents to come together in a smoke and alcohol free family environment to share stories and renew old acquaintances. The festival promotes the idea that recreation is more than just sport. It is culture, music, language, art and lifestyle underpinned by respect for the Aboriginal cultural and recognition that these are all integral parts linking together the heart and soul of the festival and of Garnduwa itself.
The bringing together of over 3000 Kimberley Indigenous individuals would not be complete without giving them the opportunity to showcase their unique and raw sporting talents, particularly in the areas of football and basketball. For the majority of these vast Kimberley remote communities, the Smarter than Smoking Garnduwa Festival is the only opportunity for the sporting rivalry between them to have an outlet.