Warming up our wintry nights this week is the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, a favourite for lovers of music, cabaret, theatre, dance, food, comedy, literature, history and visual art. They say there’s something for everyone and with more than 200 international, national and Sunshine Coast performers in Noosa for some mid-year fun in the sun (and performing), and more than 80 events over 10 days, you would be hard-pressed not to find something that appeals.
From Cats to cocktails, prawns to politics, teddy bears to tea, burlesque to ballet, Fleetwood Mac to free heritage walks and Phantom to photography, the program really has it covered.
Opening night last Friday was, as usual, a hoot, with the Queensland premiere of Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits – Volume One. I’m not usually a big fan of musicals, so a show that toasts and roasts the best of them could have gone either way for me. It was great fun as the four fantastic performers parodied everything from Liza Minnelli to Mamma Mia, Les Miserables and Gerschwin ... I loved hearing what the Cats performer’s next role is ... (insert howl here!)
We’re half-way through the 10-day festival which finishes this Sunday 27 July with the Festival Wrap Party at Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa – four hours of festival highlights and live music for $25. Catch the free shuttle bus leaving The J car park every 15 minutes from 11.30am-4.30pm.
There’s still plenty more to see and do including Supper Club with Rhonda Burchmore at Berardo’s Restaurant; Ali McGregor's show Alchemy on Saturday night; the risque burlesque Diabolique at Noosa Arts Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; Prawnissimo Promenade progressive lunch at Sunshine Beach; forums with political and media commentators; and Queensland Youth Orchestra 2 at Bicentennail Hall on Saturday.
Sing along to your favourite Fleetwood Mac songs as popular festival performer and ambassador Catherine Alcorn (pictured) brings her show Go Your Own Way to The J Theatre on Thursday 24 July - it's a comical celebration of the life and success of “the other woman” in Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie. CLICK HERE for a sneak peek at the show.
The free Heritage Walks in various villages in the Noosa region are popular each year - still to come are walks through the historical town of Eumundi (Thursday 24 July), Cooran (Friday 25 July), Cooroy (Saturday 26 July) and Kin Kin (Sunday 27 July) – all in the Noosa hinterland.
A bonus for anyone who’s attended any festival events is the Up The Lazy River promotion – just present your performance ticket and receive great discounts or bonuses at participating restaurants along Gympie Tce, Noosaville, and soak up the gorgeous river views. Also make sure you try at least one of the six Cocktail Capers created especially for the festival by some of our favourite Hastings Street venues - my favourite so far is 10 Hastings Street Cafe’s Hang 10 cocktail!
The festival has also added a splash of colour with the gorgeous Hastings Street tree lit with special red festival lighting, and a fabulous street parade that kicked everything off last Friday, featuring the 22-piece Unusual Suspects who also entertained the opening night crowd with their Balkan Gypsy music.
And for some great candid shots of festival performers from the past 13 years, make sure you see the retrospective photographic exhibition from long-time festival photographer Barry Alsop from Eyes Wide Open Images – free in the foyer of The J Noosa, 10am-4pm every day.
For the full program or to purchase tickets to Noosa Long Weekend Festival events, please see noosalongweekend.com.au
My dream is that one day I will be so organised for Christmas that I can spend the last couple of days beforehand just soaking up the wonderful atmosphere in Noosa – the gorgeous weather, sparkling ocean, beautiful Christmas lights, the buzz of shopping and the sipping of cocktails to celebrate the festive season ... one day.
With summer holidays in full swing here in Noosa, there are plenty of people doing just that already and I’ll be joining them very soon. With so much outdoor fun – beaches, fishing, kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddling, kite surfing, national park walks, boating – you might wonder how you’ll fit it all in. Even with the relaxed pace, somehow you manage to find time, in between waterfront breakfasts, relaxed lunches and fine dining or fish and chips at the end of the day.
Make sure there’s still time for holiday fun with Christmas Eve carols at Peregian Beach, festive feasts on Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve fireworks at Noosa Marina – see our Noosa Festive Season Guide for a great round-up of what’s on.
There’s no need to get caught up in the big, mad Boxing Day sales – after Christmas (or even before) Noosa is the ideal place to stroll around and find fantastic last-minute gifts, stock up for next year or just to spoil yourself. Our markets from Coolum to Peregian, Noosa Marina, Eumundi and Kin Kin have an amazing range of locally-made, unique and gorgeous products.
Hastings Street is renowned for its unique stores with gifts, jewellery and designs, including Hearts and Mind Art; Jive Art and Design; gorgeous jewellery from Armano Collections, Secrets Shhh and Pearls for Girls; or browse the books at Mary Ryan Bookstore Noosa.
Venture to Noosaville where you can spend the day looking through riverfront gift shops, boutiques and more along Gympie Tce and Thomas Street, including Coco & Bliss, or the Gateway Drive precinct with designer outlets including Spoilt where there are amazing bargains on jewellery, accessories and fashion.
Noosa Junction, just over the hill from Hastings Street is another favourite for locals with great boutiques and something different such as beautiful beachy gifts and shell art workshops at Tres Noosa, and gorgeous collectibles at George Magasic Antiques. If you love shells, make sure you track down The Big Shell, a treasure trove of shells and gifts in Gympie Street, Tewantin.
There’s also plenty of great surf gear from surf shops around Noosa including Classic Malibu, Golden Breed, Noosa Longboards and Noosa Surf Works.
While you’re at the markets in Eumundi, make sure you explore the wonderful, eclectic shops including Berkelouw Books in the main street before a refreshing drink or meal at the Imperial Hotel or Bohemian Bungalow.
And the best thing about shopping anywhere around Noosa, apart from the beautiful buys to take home, is that no matter where you are there’s always a great coffee or cocktail nearby to help restore your energy.
We wish all our visitors and Noosa lovers a happy and safe Christmas and holiday season.
The shores of Boreen Point and Lake Cootharaba in the upper reaches of the Noosa River system are such a beautiful place to visit for fishing, sailing, canoeing, camping, bush walking and just to get away from it all, and this week you can add art into the mix. The green arts festival Floating Land which plays out for 10 days at nearby locations has brought 300 national and international artists to the lake's sandy shores.
More than 150 free events at this year's festival are bringing together environmental themes and art under the banner of Nature’s Dialogue. It’s a wonderful celebration of nature and art in the one location as it really shows off some of the region’s beautiful spots including the lakeside village of Boreen Point, Lake Cootharaba (the gateway to the Noosa Everglades), Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat, the historic Apollonian Hotel – even the metal door of the Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club for Poetry on the Sliding Door.
Artists have melded their works with the environment with sculptures along the foreshore such as the amazing Reading Clouds – Floating Middens by James Muller and Michel Tuffery featuring massive shell shapes on the water, and the festival continues all this week through to Sunday June 9 – timely for World Environment Day on Wednesday June 5.
It’s a unique and special way to view this gorgeous landscape, surrounded by the Great Sandy National Park, in a whole new light. Speaking of light, it’s worth a trip back there after dusk with LED lighting, sound and video projections transforming the artworks at night.
You can learn something new in traditional workshops about indigenous basketry, traditional costume weaving, canoe building and tai chi, or weaving, music and percussion with the Leweton Cultural Group from Vanuatu. There are guided tours, artist talks, traditional and contemporary dance, film, visual art, studio trails and the Eco Lounge at the historic Apollonian Hotel every night.
Dusk Installation Walks start at the Floating Land Info Hub on Wednesday and Saturday this week (June 5 and 8), with a guide talking about each of the displays along the lake’s edge, and Guided Canoe Installation Tours are a unique way to see the artworks by day or night. One of the satellite events is Fire and Tea at Rowley Drysdale’s amazing Quixotica art space in Cooroy – tea vessels will be fired in an Asian-style anagama kiln and Korean tea ceremonies will be served at 11am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend (June 8 and 9).
I’m looking forward to hearing the moving sounds of extinct and endangered animals played out across the waters of Lake Cootharaba by the amazing Linsey Pollak, using live looping in his Cries Across the Water concert at sunset (5-5.45pm) this Wednesday and Friday (June 5 and 7) – bring a chair and rug.
The Floating Land Farewell performance, The Calling, is on Saturday June 8 from 4-6pm on the foreshore opposite Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club, with the Leweton Cultural Group. Download the full festival program here or have a look at more images thanks to ABC Open and head out there this week – it’s only about 25 minutes from Noosa.