Hitting the Tracks: Sand Tracks Reconnaissance

Hitting the Tracks: Sand Tracks Reconnaissance

Hannah Chambers

The best way to get a good understanding of what communities want from a Sand Tracks tour is to ask them directly.

Which is how I ended up travelling down red gravel roads to remote Aboriginal communities in May to discuss the upcoming 2019 Sand Tracks tour. Along for the journey was colleague Tim Pearn, who was there to consult community members on the voting process used to select the Sand Tracks headline act, where I was there to consult the wider community about the Sand Tracks tour.

Reconnaissance trips like this, or “recces” are a key way for us to gather information and meet with Presenters, individuals and organisations – all of which helps with planning the tour and to further develop the partnerships within the communities.

Blackstone Festival. Picture by Hannah Chambers.

We aligned this recce to the Blackstone Festival, which we were encouraged to participate in and learn about one of the key festivals in the Ngaanyatjarra lands. The Blackstone Festival was the event of the season, with people travelling hundreds of kilometres from surrounding communities to participate in the Festival activities through storytelling, art activities, football and the Battle of the Bands competition.

We met with a lot of community organisations and; whether it be local government, community councils, schools, arts centres or individuals, Sand Tracks is on everyone’s radar each year. Overwhelmingly what we heard is that people love the Sand Tracks tour. Community members told us that the tour gives communities ownership of an event that is unique and supports aspiring young musicians through workshops run by the bands. The bands get on board and act as mentors to workshop attendees, which creates opportunities for the participants to learn a new skill or two. There is so much support for the Sand Tracks tour as communities can see the benefits that Sand Tracks provides to their local area.

Travelling to meet with communities. Picture by Hannah Chambers.

Community ownership is something we want to foster with the tour, so for the second year running we are working with the Warburton community to create the tour poster design. This year Graphic Designer Kate O’Connor, who helped design the first edition of Wilurarra Creative’s Alanya will be running a series of community consultation meetings to ensure the Warburton community gets their stamp on the poster.

Country Arts WA is excited to announce that we will be touring Mambali and emerging stars Barkly Drifters through the Central Desert from 4- 28 September 2019. Both bands will participate in the Bush Bands Business program in Alice Springs, before embarking on a three-week tour through Amata, Wingellina, Warburton, Warakurna and Kiwirrkurra. If you want to learn more about these awesome bands, check out the information available on the 2019 Sand Tracks page.


Country Arts WA receives core funding from the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in association with Lotterywest. This program has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding advisory body; and through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

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