A Pilbara local government has thrown its support behind the Karijini Experience to help bring it back this year. The annual festival usually features more than 180 Aboriginal people from the music, art, theatre, and food industries who travel from all over Australia to perform at Karijini National Park. At a special council meeting last month the Shire of Ashburton committed to act as the standalone principal sponsor and provide $85,000 in funds. The Shire of Ashburton provided event organisers Nintirri Centre $50,000 to help run the event last year, which was due to be headlined by Thelma Plum, pictured, but it was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Shire officer’s report, the $50,000 was placed into a trust account and rolled over to this year, when the Nintirri Centre reached out to the organisation for a further $35,000. The report said ticket sales were higher than this time last year. “Eighty-four per cent of the tickets already sold are from areas outside of the Shire of Ashburton,” it said. The funding would come from spare funds in the organisation’s 2020-21 budget. Shire president Kerry White said she was pleased the Karijini Experience was a hallmark event for the Ashburton region. “Council recognise the importance of tourism to our Shire as a diverse and sustainable industry and the Karijini Experience, as one of the esteemed events in the region, showcases our distinctive tourism offering to a local, intrastate and interstate audience,” she said. The event is from April 6-10.