The DESERT UPLANDS FESTIVAL in 2002 celebrated the Year of the Outback and affirmed the lifestyle of the region in a series of diverse events based in the activities, culture, places, people and creative drive of the Desert Uplands. It was an umbrella event, linking the many activities of the region that already occurred in May 2002 such as the Charters Towers Music Festival, the Barcaldine Arts Festival and the International Quarter Horse Challenge at Alpha into an attractive festival package that could be promoted within and outside the region to gain maximum participation for each individual event as well as added tourism and national participation in the Desert Uplands lifestyle and creative spirit.

The Desert Uplands Festival initiated special projects such as the spectacular concert version of the specially commissioned musical “The Captain Starlight Show” (at Mailman’s Gorge) Aramac and developed a number of linking events such as the photography competition and exhibition and the Touring Players. Aboriginal artists and culture were involved in all aspects of the festival. The Desert Uplands Festival brought special guest artists into the region – the ACTU Combined Union Choir performed in the birth-place of unionism in Australia and top musical stars appeared in Starlight.

The DESERT UPLANDS FESTIVAL was an exciting, unifying regional concept that added value to established events, created new projects based in the life of the region, stimulated regional commitment and pride by involving the community from the very beginning of the projects and promoted the region and its lifestyle.