Since 1994 Narrandera has held an annual Festival in honour of the town’s beloved poet and parish priest, with 2014 marking the Festival’s 20th anniversary. The John O’Brien Festival showcases the works of John O’Brien himself along with other bush poets from across Australia, and sees wonderful performances each year of both original works and traditional classics.
The John O’Brien Festival seeks to inspire a new generation of bush poets by hosting a number of poetry writing and recital competitions each year, along with an appropriately themed short story writing competition. The Jim Angel Memorial Award is presented annually for the best performance of an original poem.
The Festival likewise celebrates the culture and community of country Australia that inspired so many of John O’Brien’s poems. A market day, bush dance, street parade, children’s activities, numerous concerts and performances by poets and musicians alike, a busking competition, and many other events are included in the program each year. There is also plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the lead up to this fantastic event.