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Sean O’Shea’s Byron Bay: A book of extraordinary photos

Sean O’Shea takes photographs and videos every day on the beaches and in the hinterland of Byron Bay. And in just the few years Sean has been posting them, these images have inspired literally millions of people around the world.

Sean is an artist not a businessman, so his friends have come together to help him curate a book featuring top quality prints of his iconic photos, along with personal and compelling stories about how he took them, written by Byron Shire author Kate Veitch.

People message Sean from Tokyo, Timbuktu, Rio, Rome, and hundreds more cities and towns just to say how watching his live streams from the Bay, and his incredible still shots, help them get through the business of their daily lives.

This book is for people anywhere and everywhere who want to see nature at its most beautiful, up close, in the company of the kookaburras, dolphins, palms and casuarinas of the Shire. It will be made to last, to keep telling its stories and passing on its messages well into the future -- and maybe it will even make our collective future just a bit less perilous.

As of the 21st of May 2017 our CROWDFUNDING website — www.pozible.com/project/sean-osheas-byron-bay —  will be ready to take people’s pledges. When we reach our target of $25,000 ($AU) we will print Sean's book — and everyone who has pledged will get the books, calendars and greeting cards they requested as rewards. We know it’s a big goal but it’s a bold book, and if we don’t reach our goal, no one will have to pay a cent.

We chose to finance Sean O’Shea’s Byron Bay online so we could stay free of the demands and high prices of mainstream publishers, and so we can discover just how many people here and abroad want a top-quality full-colour hard copy of Sean’s best work. We think there will be tens of thousands of them, judging by the extraordinary popularity of his social media posts.

Any of Sean’s fans who are able to pledge higher amounts can get extra rewards, even an outing in the Bay area with Sean and his camera!

If the crowdfunding hits our goal, the books, cards and calendars should hit the shops and be in the mail before Christmas.

There’s a great team giving their time and talent now to help Sean and me, his partner, create a truly exceptional book that celebrates our amazing northern rivers environment, and our equally extraordinary community.

To see Sean’s work online check out  www.seanoshea.com.au  www.facebook.com/SeanOSheaArt  www.instagram.com/seanosheaart

Popped Urban Laneway Activation

This May, one of Byron Bay’s most notorious dead spaces will be invigorated by Popped Creative: a new, innovative collective that has an inspired vision for the future of arts and culture in our region.

In just one week, a team of Byron Bay’s most talented street artists will transform ‘Surf Alley’: the tired laneway in Johnson Street that has previously been used as nothing more than a pedestrian thoroughfare and hot spot for late-night anti-social behaviour.

Popped Creative is Byron Bay’s newest events and creative services firm. Popped is collaborating with a team headed by local artist Austin of Nitsua, on the transformational project, which will be celebrated on the weekend of Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May with a urban laneway activation event, encompassing live art, street food, bar, music, cool lighting, green walls, bespoke sustainable furniture, talks & ideas program, and much more.

The event creates a platform for emerging artists who would not otherwise have an opportunity to engage with the local community. The Fresh Air Gallery is a live street art gallery that will auction the finished artworks on Instagram at the end of the night, raising money for a charity of the gallery's choice, along with Popped's chosen beneficiary, the Byron Community Theatre, for its much needed upgrades.

“This is the first of its kind for Byron,” enthuses Creative Director Abbie Gibson, “We are bringing the gallery to the street, and making the arts more accessible for the wider community. It also gives our artists an opportunity to make money from their art, and garner exposure that will generate future opportunities. We are passionate about arts and culture, and want to see our local arts community thrive”.

Marketing & Media Manager Liesel Arden says “This is very much a local project with international ambitions. Our goal is to lead a new and exciting direction for regional arts; Byron Bay is the perfect place to set the precedent. As a community we can demonstrate to a global audience that there is a new generation of regional arts that are world-class, ethical, and viable all at the same time”.

The full program will be distributed throughout the region leading up to the event.

POPPED runs from 5pm – 11pm Friday 19 and 12pm - 11pm Saturday 20 May 2017.

Tickets go on sale Monday 27 March 2017 at 9am, $10 each, and can be purchased via Eventbrite or at the door. For an additional $5, ticket holders can purchase a return bus ride from outer suburbs Lennox Head, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads & Mullumbimby.

Learn more at www.poppedcreative.com.

Byron Bay Naked Bike Ride 2017

Join thousands of ‘biketivists’ around the world on a clothing-optional bike ride around Byron Bay on 12 March for the World Naked Bike Ride 2017.

The World Naked Bike Ride is the largest naked protest in the world, with events held in over 74 cities in 17 countries around the globe. The event supports a number of different causes, from environmental issues to body positivity.

Firstly, the protest aims to spread awareness of cyclists and pedestrians on the road. Participating biketivists advocate for bike-friendly roads and footpaths in our towns and cities to ensure the safety riders and walkers.

Secondly, the World Naked Bike Ride protests against the use of unsustainable fossil fuels, citing the damaging effects they have on our environment and the health of our planet’s population.

Finally, not only does the clothing-optional dress code garner attention, it calls for body acceptance, confidence and positivity from both riders and onlookers.

Join the protest this year in Byron Bay on Sunday, March 12. Meet fellow riders at 1.30pm at Railway Station, Byron Bay, before embarking on a liberating cycle around town. The protest will last around 30 minutes.

The bike ride will be short and easy. Riders of any fitness level are welcome to join. Finally, nakedness is not compulsory – go as bare as you dare!

Keep up to date with the event by joining the Facebook Group here: www.facebook.com/groups/8999913451/

Stone & Wood Brewery Open Day Supporting the Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice

Stone & Wood opens its Murwillumbah brewery gates for community fundraiser.

Local brewer, Stone & Wood will host an Open Day at their brewery on Saturday 4 March to raise funds for the Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice and Tweed Palliative Support.

Welcoming the community to their Murwillumbah brewery at 35 Kite Crescent, they have organised a family friendly event from 11-5, that includes:

  • Live music by Dos Loona, Holly Tap and Tim Shou
  • Local food stores by JR Smokehouse, The Backyard Chef and Keith Coffee Shop and Barber
  • Tours of the brewery every half hour to show the brewing process, their sustainability initiatives and tell their story
  • Kids area and jumping castle

All profits from the $5 beers will be donated to the local community hospice so that they can continue helping the community.

Stone & Wood have brewed a 'Murbah Swap Beer' to pay tribute to the legendary local story of a semi trailer, carrying pallets of beer, running off the Pacific Highway in 2001. The locals wasted no time in diving in to salvage what they could so that the beer wouldn’t go to waste! This beer will be released at the Open Day.

The Brewery's Managing Director Ben Summons said the reason for this day is to bring the Northern Rivers community together to support a charity which is integral to this area and to give locals the opportunity to see what Stone & Wood does in 'their backyard'.

"We're stoked to partner with Wedgetail Retreat and Tweed Palliative Support, as they share our values and the work they do touches so many families in this community during tough times," said Ben.

"We have two breweries, one in Byron and this one up the road but a lot of locals wouldn’t know we are here in the Murwillumbah industrial estate. As the local brewer, we want to deepen our connection with our community and give them a chance to get to know us and how we do business."

Meredith Dennis, President of Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat community hospice commented that the retreat is the only one of its kind in the State and is not government funded at all by NSW Health.

"We rely on the support from businesses and the community to continue caring for people with cancer or a life-limiting illness and their families in our region. The profits from the day are going to a worthy cause – our busy community hospice, Wedgetail Retreat, based just outside of Murwillumbah," Meredith said.

"I’d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the entertainment, take a tour of the brewery and try the delicious food and beers. There will be a gold coin donation at the gate and we will also have a stand selling Stone & Wood Pacific Ale Fruit Chutney, beer bread and cheese."

Join Wedgetail Retreat and Tweed Palliative Support at local brewery Stone & Wood’s Open Day on 4 March, to come together to connect with your community, learn more about a local business and to raise money for a charity.

Re-Cap: Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016/17

Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016/17 did not disappoint. Held over three days (31st December – 2nd January) at the North Byron Parklands, the festival was packed with great music, delicious food, market stalls, plenty of sun, a bit of rain, and much more.

The impressive Amphitheatre stage filled up each day with enthusiastic crowds dancing and singing the night away alongside this year’s killer lineup. On New Year's Eve, everyone dressed to impress for the Falls Festival Gold theme, transforming the full Amphitheatre into a dress-up party.

On days two and three, the Forest Stage featured some excellent acts from around the globe, including Parquet Courts, a rock band from New York City – they were my festival highlight.

There was also some incredible Byron Bay talent to enjoy in The Grove, including DELI, a local group that improvises every song.

In addition to the music, Falls served up some extra fun, including the Palm Springs pools, Market Stalls and the Ferris wheel. Of course, there was also a ton of exciting food options.

The heat was intense (around 34 degrees each day), and on the final afternoon a storm rolled in and there was a bit of rain. This didn’t stop the fun, and I am sure everyone’s excited to come back again next time.

First Sun NYD Byron Bay

Presented by the Byron Community Centre, First Sun is an opportunity for you and your family to welcome the New Year at the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse.

First Sun begins at 5.30am on January 1, with a silent sunrise meditation. The meditation, paired with a breathtaking view of the year’s first sunlight rising over the ocean, allows participants to set a meaningful intention for the New Year.

Following the meditation, there will be free yoga and Hawaiian Flying – a perfect chance to start the year off in a positive, healthful way.

First Sun aims to showcase the peaceful essence of Byron Bay, the beauty of the region, and the community spirit.

Shuttle buses will run from Clarks Beach car park to the lighthouse between 5am and 8am. Parking will be restricted from Clarks Beach to the Lighthouse between midnight, December 31, 2016 and 8am, January 1, 2017.

For further information visit the Byron Community Centre's website.

2017 Byron Bay Surf Festival

The Byron Bay Surf Festival is back and better than ever. The event will take place this summer, between February 24 and 26, 2017.

As the recipient of the 2015 Surf Culture Award, the festival is known internationally for its contribution to the surf world.

Jam-packed with over 25 ticketed and free events, the non-competitive festival celebrates culture, innovation, and sustainability. As well as surfing, events include music, art, film, yoga, surfboard design, fashion, literature, history, food, and health. The festival comes to its climax on the final day, with the spectacular Freestyle and Stoke surf session at stunning Wategos beach.

HIGHLIGHTS REEL FROM OUR LAST FESTIVAL!!!!! from Byron Bay Surf Festival on Vimeo.

Byron Bay Surf Festival 2017 Schedule

Friday, February 24

The Byron Surf Festival is set to open at the Lone Goat Art Gallery with an art exhibition. Festivities will move to the foreshore of Main Beach, where the opening ceremony and popular outdoor cinema will take place. The celebration will continue with live music at the Beach Hotel.

Saturday, February 25

Saturday begins with the free Surf Art Market along Main Beach. The tipi markets attract all sorts of people, whether or not they’re into surf culture. Later in the day, the ticketed events will take place. The program includes live music, a surf film competition, and yet-to-be-announced surprises.

Sunday, February 26

On Sunday, the Byron Bay Surf Festival goers head to Wategos beach to check out (or participate in) the action both in and out of the water. The foreshore will be dotted with a diverse array of handmade surf crafts. In the water, surfers will showcase their joy and creativity in a non-competitive environment. To finish, the Surf Festival will host a casual, ticketed closing party.

Byron Bay New Years Eve 2016

Celebrate New Years Eve 2016 in Byron Bay at the annual, family-friendly Soul Street event.

Between 4pm and 10pm on December 31, Jonson Street will transform into a street party celebration. Market stalls and food stall will line the street. The kids will be entertained by a variety of buskers, amusement rides, circus performers, drummers, face painters, fire twirlers, and more. Plus, local bands will play in Railway Park through the duration of the event.

Soul Street is alcohol free, and designed with families in mind. To ensure the safety of all, Jonson Street will be closed to cars from 12pm on December 31 until 8am on January 1, 2017.

Visitors can park free in the Butler Street Reserve, which is a short stroll from Jonson Street. Alternatively, the Falls Festival Shuttle bus will be open to the general public. The buses run along Ewingsdale Road and between Suffolk Park and the centre of Byron Bay for a fee of $5.

For further detail, visit Byron Shire Council's website.

2017 Byron Spirit Festival

The 2017 Byron Spirit Festival, Custodians of Culture. 31 Mar - 2 Apr 2017. Mullumbimby.

The Byron Spirit Festival celebrates the unique character of the Byron Shire, featuring workshops and panels on yoga, music, culture, dance, healing and world music. Participants attend their choice of workshops during the day and then gather together for evening concerts featuring world music from local, national and international performers and dancers.

The event is based in the town of Mullumbimby, 15 minutes from Byron Bay. The Byron Spirit Festival provides workshops and entertainment for the whole family and incorporates existing venues in the town, such as the civic centre, community gardens, local halls and churches.

The event inspires well being and has been called the best festival of its kind in Australia as it seeks to create a strong sense of community and healthy lifestyle. With a celebration of various cultural practices and traditions, the festival is an example of cultural harmony and celebrates spiritual and racial diversity as a key to building healthy communities.

For further information, visit spiritfestival.com.au

The Byron Bay Stingrays

Every morning, whatever the weather, a group of dedicated individuals make their way to the deck of the Byron Bay Surf Club and prepare for their morning ocean swim. They are known as the Stingrays.

At 8am sharp, the group take the 20-minute stroll down to the Pass. Some run, and others walk. Some come with snorkels and goggles, and others with nothing more than a swimming cap. Some are young, and others well over seventy. The diversity of the group is one thing that makes the swim so appealing.

Once at the pass, the swimmers dive into the ocean. They swim back to the Surf Club regardless of whether the water is warm and pristine, or cold and choppy. The Stingrays often spot sea turtles and tropical fish. And, whale sightings are common June through November.

While some have done the approximately 2.5km swim every morning for decades, newbies are always welcomed. The organised ocean swim is free, and provides a unique opportunity to experience another side of Byron Bay together with competent swimmers.

If you become tired mid-way through the swim, you can make your way to the beach and walk back to the Surf Club. The swim is not competitive. For the Stingrays, the experience is about connecting to the ocean, and soaking up that blissful sense of joy, freedom, and accomplishment.

For many locals, the ocean swim is a celebration of living in Byron Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

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