Slated for Saturday August 6, it’ll mark the first NIMAs ceremony held in person since 2019 – both the ’20 and ’21 editions were originally planned to go down IRL, but eventually moved to virtual setups due to COVID-19 restrictions. As it always has, this year’s event will be held on Larrakia Country, taking to the Amphitheatre in Darwin’s Botanical Gardens.
In a press statement, Ben Graetz – the NIMAs’ creative director – said he and his team were “so excited to have the NIMAs back in real life”. He continued: “The awards have always been a special place to connect with mob and for artists to get together to celebrate their artistry and culture.
“The last two years of virtual events have been challenging but it has also allowed us to get to people far and wide, across Australia and beyond, but getting back to country and being together to celebrate music will be a true homecoming for our industry.”
A key part of every year’s NIMAs is its roster of Indigenous performers. Today (May 12), it was revealed that 2022’s bill would be topped by Gamilaraay singer-songwriter Thelma Plum and Yolngu surf-rockers King Stingray.
Plum recently confirmed that her long-awaited second album was completed and “rapidly approaching”, with new songs to be debuted on tour later this month. King Stingray, on the other hand, are a matter of weeks out from announcing their debut album, having dropped its latest preview, ‘Camp Dog’, back in March.
Tickets to the 2022 NIMAs ceremony are on sale now from the Darwin Festival website. Award nominations have also been opened, with the public encouraged to put forward applications via Music NT’s bespoke platform. Any releases from the past twelve months are eligible, provided they were released by artists identifying as First Nations peoples.
Speaking to NME last November, Graetz vouched that regardless of how it operates, the NIMAs – and music from First Nations artists in general – are instrumental to the longevity of Indigenous culture and community.
He explained: “What’s so important about these awards, whether it’s in person or done virtually, is that it allows our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to connect and inspire hope, and it gives them something to look forward to. Music plays such an important role in healing, but also in telling stories and bringing our community together.
“One of the big things I learned from running a virtual event is that it allowed access for all of our community to be able to share how special the NIMAs are. Now, we just need to refine it. But gathering, sharing and healing as a community will always play an important role in what the awards are.”