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2017 Destination Byron Tourism Symposium Re-Cap

The theme Beyond The Byron Boom, How to Ensure Our Visitor Economy is Sustainable, allowed the local industry to come together for a one day conference at the Elements of Byron Resort and share some detail on how different sectors are working sustainably.

The event began with an introduction by Cr. Simon Richardson, who did an excellent job as MC with insight and humour, followed by Delta Kay's engaging Welcome to Country.

The program started with Stephen Mahoney and Anthony Laver of Destination NSW, presented Projections and Updates, providing visitor statistics and outlining many of the services they provide to the region's industry and businesses. 

Vanessa van Uden, a past Mayor of Queenstown New Zealand, presented a real-life experience of Queenstown Avoiding Death By Popularity. She highlighted the importance of industries working together to come up with innovative solutions, such as using sewerage charges as a bed tax alternative by charging $612 per year for the first toilet, then $306 for each additional toilet. The larger hotels end up contributing over $100,000 per year.

Liz Price discussed the Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road, which until recently went without any central management. Liz highlighted the issues they face with a fragmented industry servicing 5 million (mostly day trippers) each year. 

The 140 or so attendees then enjoyed a Local Producers Morning Tea supplied by Nimbin Valley Dairy, Salum Australia, Brookfarm and Byron Bay Cacao.

The first panel discussion was Sustainability of the Events Visitor Economy, facilitated by Cr. Simon Richardson with Jane Magnus, Jen Murphy, Mat Morris and Chris Hanley. A mature industry pointed out that better regulation and better infrastructure would help the events industry. And, the importance of event managers sharing best practice improvements amongst themselves.

Before lunch, Anthony Laver, David Jones and Brenda Miley, facilitated by Cameron Arnold, discussed Defining Brand Byron. The consensus was it's the feeling of Byron that best defined the brand, as there are beautiful beaches, great restaurants, exciting festivals, etc. all over the world - but only one Byron Bay.

A quick lunch with time to stretch before Pam Brook facilitated the Heroes of Regional Tourism discussion with Tom Lane, Brooke Hudson, Sue Walker and Jasmin Daly. They each talked about change, collaboration and the importance of allowing staff to work to their own passion.

The program ended with Delta Kay, Vanessa van Uden, Liz Price and Carly Weiland discussing How Will Byron Tackle Quality vs Quantity facilitated by Jane Laverty. The lively discussion ended up with the idea that a quality service or experience will encourage the desired quality of visitor behaviour.

The attendees finished the day with a drink supplied by Brookie's Gin and Stone & Wood, and some networking.

Overall, the theme of people and collaboration ran through every discussion, with the best, simple idea coming from Delta Kay who suggested we all greet Byron's visitors with 'Jingi Walla' (Welcome).

The Byron Writers Festival 2017 Re-Cap

This year, the Byron Writers Festival enjoyed perfect weather, an inspiring line-up, and a chilled-out atmosphere. With a myriad of thought-provoking talks and panels, festival goers were treated to 3 days of world-class political, historical, and artistic insight.

Unlike last year’s festival, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was dry and sunny. In fact, through Friday and Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky.

Festival goers took full advantage of the warm weather, with many choosing to enjoy a picnic style lunch, a snooze in the sunshine, a quick cup of coffee, or a few minutes of quiet time with their brand new book.

Each day from 9am until 5pm, the tents came alive with discussions on all things writing. Pictured below is Tony Jones in conversation with Sarah Kanowski.

From journalism to poetry (including performance poetry by Arielle Cottingham, pictured below), historical fiction to memoir, there was something for every reader and writer.

Although much of the subject-matter discussed was quite serious, the tents and venues often erupted in laughter and applause.

Sunday – the last day of the Byron Writers Festival – was the Kids Big Day Out.

Kids met their favourite authors (include the very funny Peter Helliar), competed for book prizes, and watched hilarious performances by this year’s Sunday line-up. Even the adults were cracking up.  

Overall, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was a unique and memorable experience. The lessons learnt, ideas debated, and viewpoints bought to light will play on our minds for weeks to come.

See you next year, Byron Writers Festival.

Splendour in the Grass 2017

Warm blue sky days and cool clear nights made for an easy and enjoyable Festival. 

Splendour in the Grass 2017’s line-up of over 100 acts played to a capacity 32,500 audience across four main stages - The Amphitheatre, Mix Up Stage, GW McLennan Tent and Tiny Dancer - while the festival’s campground became a home away from home to 19,500 music fans.

The music, artwork, light installations, sunny days and excess glitter helped provide colour and movement across the whole festival.

Appreciative audiences for all performances added to the energy.

Fun bars and interesting food all around - my favourite were the Mary's Burgers. All up, another excellent Splendour - I can't wait for next year!

NAIDOC Week 2017 in Byron Bay

Taking place in the first week of July, NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the history, culture, and successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Byron Shire’s NAIDOC Week activities help us appreciate the rich contributions that Indigenous Australians have made and continue to make on our society.

The 2017 NAIDOC Week theme is Our Languages Matter. This theme aims to highlight the vital role language, story and song plays in cultural identity, spirituality, and the connection to land and water in the passing down of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

NAIDOC Week in Byron Bay will kick off on July 3 with the annual Flag Raising and Byron Shire NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony. Starting at 10.30am at the Byron Shire Council Chambers in Mullumbimby, the symbolic flag raising will give the community an opportunity to celebrate the diverse contributions of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in areas of music, art, education, culture, sport, politics, and environment. All are welcome to this popular event.

Byron Bay NAIDOC 2017 Program

Here’s an overview of the 2017 Byron Bay NAIDOC Week program.

Flag Raising and Byron Shire NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony

When: 10.30am, Monday, 3 July 2017

Where: Byron Shire Council Chambers, Station Street, Mullumbimby

Bundjalung Art opening

When: 5.30pm, Monday, 3 July 2017

Where: Byron Bay Surf Club, Main Beach, Byron Bay

Arakwal NAIDOC Film Night

When: 6.30pm, Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Where: Byron Community Centre, Jonson Street, Byron Bay

Learn more: iq.org.au/10th-arakwal-naidoc-week-film-screening

Family Fun Day - Celebrating NAIDOC in Mullumbimby

with Welcome to Country, Cultural Performances, Imagine the Earth, Bush Tucker Planting and Tasting, Art and Craft, Music and Dance, Kids Activity Program.

When: 11.00am – 3.00pm, Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Where: Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre, 55 Dalley Street, Mullumbimby

Bundjalung of Byron Bay Family Cultural Day

with Activities, Entertainment, a Cultural Showcase including Aboriginal Dancers, Music, Kids Activities and a Free BBQ.

When: 10.00am – 2.00pm, Thursday, 6 July 2017

Where: From 10am at Railway Park with a march to Denning Park, Main Beach at 11am

More NAIDOC Week Celebrations at NORPA

NORPA is hosting a number of free, family-friendly NAIDOC Week celebrations at the Lismore City Hall on Friday, 7 July and Saturday, 8 July.

The program includes live music by OKA, Billy Smith, Teddy Lewis King, and Tom Avery; dance performances by The Deadly Bunharms, Bundjalung Nini Nahri-Gali and Muggerah; Black Screen films; music workshops with Darren Compton from Move it Mob Style; basket weaving workshops; Elders storytelling and conversation panels. Uncle Mick and Aunty Thelma will be providing delicious bush tucker on both days including damper, crocodile and kangaroo curries.

Free entry – no tickets required.

Check out the full program at norpa.org.au/events/naidoc-at-norpa/

All residents and visitors of the Byron Shire and surrounds are encouraged to participate in the jam-packed NAIDOC Week program.

Join the Byron Shire NAIDOC Week Facebook Event.

2017 Mullum Music Festival

Mullum Music Festival (MMF) is a boutique festival in Mullumbimby, a quaint but vibrant little town in the hinterland of Byron Bay, NSW. Celebrating its 10th festival in 2017, which has gradually grown from very humble beginnings since the inaugural event back in 2008 – a memorable year for Mullum with the refurbishment and renovation of the Civic Hall, the epicentre of the festival.

The unique structure of MMF creates a special community atmosphere, adding a distinct and special flavour to the event, which festival goers hold dear to their musical hearts.

The action packed program is spread across multiple venues throughout the town. The use of existing structures is a very special aspect of the festival and reinforces not only the ‘roaming community’ vibe of the event, but also the sustainability of the town both financially and environmentally – two things which the organisers work very hard to ensure.

Artists are routinely seen mingling with the crowd and jumping in as guest performers all over the festival as a part of the laid back family atmosphere and the calibre of attending artists (as both performers and punters) is nothing to sneeze at. Mullum has been blessed with the likes of The Church, Ron Sexsmith (CAN), Ajak Kwai (Sth Sudan), Montaigne, Olympia, Tash Sultana, The Basics, Elana Stone, Marlon Williams (NZ), Robert Forster, Pieta Brown (US), Nano Stern (CHILE), Mama Kin, Arte Kanella, Megan Washington, Montaigne, All our Exes Live In Texas, Sticky Fingers, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, King Tide, Tinpan Orange, Mojo JuJu, just to name a few...

The vibrant annual street parade and Mullum’s own Magic Bus have also become favourite festival hallmarks.

Since the beginning festival organisers, Red Square Music, have worked to maintain the individuality, authenticity and integrity of the festival on a number of levels. Not only does the event support the town, its musicians and the national and global music world, but it includes several programs to reinforce and promote sustainability. One of these is The Mullum S.E.E.D. program which involves a series of educational, sustainability focused talks and workshops which take place alongside the music timetable.

The MMF also continues its commitment to nurturing youth in, not only the music industry, but in a wide range of industries, offering a unique youth mentorship program for young musicians and also a range of TED-style talks for youth which fall under the banner of The Youth Training Station (formed in 2014).

Since its inception in 2008 when opening night was very nearly rained out and people came out of the woodwork driving miles to avoid fallen trees and powerlines to support what they knew would be a worthwhile event, the festival has grown from strength to strength, evolving and transforming along the way to become one of the most successful boutique festivals in the country.

The Mullum Music Festival - November 16th - 19th 2017. Further information and tickets, visit www.mullummusicfestival.com.

Byron Writers Festival 2017 Full Program

Byron Writers Festival (4-6 August) reveals an exciting and compelling program featuring more than 130 guests. The 3-Day 2017 Festival will unfold across six stages at the stunning beachside Festival site, and will be complemented by diverse writers’ workshops, satellite events and literary dinners throughout Byron Bay and the wider Northern Rivers region.

‘The 21st Byron Writers Festival program aims to soar high across many different dominions. We seek to inspire, engage and cultivate accessible conversations between our writer guests and avid audiences,’ said Festival Director, Edwina Johnson.

‘We are especially proud of this year’s Program ¬– for its cultural diversity, scope and probing amalgamation of important topics and different writing genres.’

Acclaimed Australian novelists include Kate Grenville, Ashley Hay, Anita Heiss, Hannah Kent, A.S. Patric, Nicolas Rothwell, Kim Scott and Byron Bay based Rob Drewe who will launch his new novel Whipbird at the Festival. They join a best-selling line-up of Australian crime writers, including David Free, Mirandi Riwoe (M.J. Tjia), Michael Robotham and Jock Serong.

ABIA Award winner and rock icon Jimmy Barnes will discuss his bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir, Working Class Boy. Legendary singer and songwriter Tex Perkins will reveal his newly released autobiography. The two will come together for a special ABC Radio National session with presenter Sarah Kanowski. Sarah Blasko will feature in a one-on-one conversation with The Saturday Paper’s Erik Jensen as well as a Music Makers session with musician and novelist Holly Throsby.

Richard Roxburgh and Andrew Knight take us behind the scenes of the hugely popular TV-series Rake. Roxburgh will also entertain at Kids Big Day Out with his first children’s book Artie and The Grime Wave. In his startlingly honest memoir My Idol Years seventies pop star, barrister and Australian Idol judge Mark Holden spins the chair for us on the TV and music industries.

Master illusionist and escapologist Cosentino will share his greatest trick – how he learned to read – and was transformed from a bullied isolated 12-year-old boy with learning difficulties to one of the world’s most popular magicians. Sudanese refugee Deng Adut will recount his journey from child soldier to lawyer and 2017 NSW Australian of the Year alongside his co-author Ben Mckelvey.

Other highlight memoirists and biographers include Caroline Baum, Jane Hutcheon, Nikki Gemmell and Kim Mahood whose Position Doubtful Tim Winton nominated as his 2016 favourite book saying: ‘If anyone's written more beautifully and modestly about this country and its people I'm not aware of it. I think it's a treasure.’

Politics, much-needed debate and a good dose of humour will shine a light on the key issues facing Australians and the world when leading commentators take Festival centre-stage. Peter FitzSimons argues The Case for a Republic in the annual Thea Astley Lecture; satirist John Safran and respected journalist David Marr unravel the second coming of Pauline Hanson and the socio-political landscape that has given rise to the likes of Trump. Susan Carland makes the case that feminism and Islam can be complementary in Fighting Hislam; The Hon. Dr Barry Jones takes us on a journey through the music and literature that has inspired him, while Gold Walkley award-winning reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna gives insight into her investigative journalism for ABC TV Four Corners.

The hugely popular Best of Insiders event returns to Byron Theatre with host Barrie Cassidy and panelists Malcolm Farr, David Marr and Laura Tingle taking us through all the big political developments of 2017. The Festival also pays tribute one of our greats, John Clarke, with a special evening event at Elements of Byron featuring Bryan Dawe and Andrew Knight.

The Festival also features media luminaries Julia Baird, Paul Barclay, Jennifer Byrne, Richard Fidler, Clementine Ford, Antony Funnell, Peter Helliar, John Lyons, Kerry O’Brien, Tracey Spicer, Lisa Wilkinson and Tony Jones who will talk about his debut novel and political thriller The Twentieth Man.

Charlie Veron, known as ‘the Godfather of Coral’, invites us to explore the wonders of his Life Underwater. He will also introduce a special screening of a startling documentary ‘Chasing Coral’. Lawrie Zion takes us into the eye of the storm with Our Weather Obsession. Acclaimed scientist Tim Flannery investigates exciting new technologies with Sunlight and Seaweed. Best-selling author and long-time farmer with a PhD in social change Charles Massy discusses regenerative agriculture, while Bruce Pascoe challenges the claim that pre-colonial Aboriginal society was essentially a hunter-gatherer society in his award-winning book Dark Emu.

Kate Cole-Adams explores of the gift of oblivion with Anaesthesia; and David Gillespie reveals the science of identifying and dealing with psychopaths at work and home with Taming Toxic People. Numbers nerd Adam Spencer will encourage us to get our geek on and beloved broadcaster and author of more than 15 books Robyn Williams will guide us through 40 years of ABC Radio National’s Science Show.

Art critic for The Boston Globe Sebastian Smee paints a fascinating picture of four friendships, betrayals, and breakthroughs in modern art in The Art of Rivalry. Artists Joshua Yeldham, Venkat Shyam, and Kim Mahood come together with Jill Eddington to discuss Making Art About Country.

International guests travelling to Byron Bay include US novelist Kayla Rae Whitaker whose debut novel The Animators is a dazzling story of female friendship; one of Indonesia’s most influential writers Eka Kurniawan; and celebrated columnist for The New York Times Roger Cohen. They will be joined by acclaimed UK writer and foreign affairs reporter Christina Lamb; Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Mei Fong whose recent book One Child reveals the true cost of China’s one-child policy, and by Indian-born British writer, lecturer and broadcaster Kenan Malik who traces the developments from The Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo in his book From Fatwa to Jihad.

Award-winning science writer Dava Sobel looks to the stars to reveal the hidden history of female astronomers in The Glass Universe, while American biology professor David George Haskell puts a stethoscope to nature’s most magnificent networkers and listens to The Song of Trees. Celebrated New York based philosophy professor Emrys Westacott shows us why less-is-more and shares The Wisdom of Frugality.

On her recent Australia Council trip to India, Festival Director Edwina Johnson encountered many wonderful writers, artists and speakers. Three will feature at the Festival – novelist and poet Kunal Basu, novelist and performance storyteller Vayu Naidu and celebrated Gond artist and now published author Venkat Shyam.

Kids Big Day Out on Festival Sunday offers a jam-packed, fun-filled program for the whole family with a huge array of activities for kids of all ages including the chance to meet their literary heroes. On hand to spark their imaginations will be Hilary Badger, Tristan Bancks, Morris Gleitzman, Peter Helliar, Lucas Proudfoot, Sally Rippin, and Richard Roxburgh.

The Festival is again partnering with local arts organisations to present additional Feature Events outside Byron Bay. These include Jimmy Barnes in conversation with Matt Condon at Lennox Head Cultural & Community Centre Saturday 5 August (Partner: Lennox Arts Board); John Safran in conversation with Bec Mac at Lismore City Hall Friday 4 August (Partner: NORPA); and Joshua Yeldham who will open his exhibition Endurance at the Tweed Regional Gallery Friday 4 August. These events complement other Feature Events, Performances and Literary Dinners throughout the Festival. Patrons are advised to book early for these in-demand sessions.

Byron Writers Festival 2017 will unfold from 4-6 August in the beautiful grounds of Elements of Byron resort.

It will be preceded by a series of hands-on skills development writing Workshops commencing on 31 July and the annual Festival Schools Programs for primary and secondary school children across the region. The Byron Writers Festival Road Trip will feature spoken word artist Miles Merrill and novelists Sophie Green and Jennifer Down aboard the StoryBoard bus that is headed to Casino, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.

Byron Writers Festival All tickets on sale now Festival Dates: 4-6 August 2017 Tickets: byronwritersfestival.com or call (02) 6685 5115

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

Harvest Food Festival 2017

Taste the very best of the Byron region with Northern Rivers Food at the 2017 Harvest Food Festival, on again from Friday, May 5 to Sunday, May 7. A celebration of local produce, this year's festival is a chance to sample gourmet food, beverages, and other culinary delights. 

Experience fine-dining at the opening and closing events, and explore the beautiful Northern Rivers area as you travel from venue to venue learning and tasting the diverse range of food and drink on offer. 

This year's program is packed with foodie opportunities. Highlights include the following:

  • The release of the brand new 'Brookies' Gin at the Cape Byron Distillery.
  • Cocktails among the sugar cane at Husk Distillers in scenic Tumbulgum.
  • Feast with good company in historic Clunes with local Chef Francisco.
  • Learn about and sample artisanal cheese in picturesque Burringbar.
  • Take a tour of macadamia, limes, and vegetable farms around Corndale.
  • And much, much more...

You can book tours, tastings, and fine-dining dinners individually, or treat yourself to the entire Harvest Food Festival. 

Check out the full program and map here.

Learn more about the Harvest Food Festival 2017 and buy tickets at harvestfoodfest.com

2017 Bluesfest Re-Cap

After five days of incredible live music, the Byron Bay Blues Festival 2017 has come to an end. This year we enjoyed perfect weather, and a line-up packed with both music legends and up-and-coming talents.

The headliners this year included some huge names: Patti Smith, Santana, the Zac Brown Band, Madness, Buddy Guy (full of energy at 81!), and Neil Finn. Each put on a memorable show or two.


 
St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Vintage Trouble were two standout acts. Both front men treated their audiences to exciting and dynamic performances.


 
Up-and-coming artists brought down the smaller Delta and Juke Joint tents each night. Melody Angel, Nikki Hill, Eric Gales (mind-blowing up-side-down guitar playing), and the Record Company were some of our favourites.


 
The absolute best act, however, was Patti Smith and her band performing Horses on Thursday night. At 70 years old, her performance was alive with vigour and attitude, and nothing short of inspiring. In her Friday afternoon acoustic set, she read a few passages from her memoir Just Kids, showing another facet to her artistic genius.


 
The Boomerang Festival at Bluesfest added a cultural dimension, with the many workshops and performances that took place onsite.


 
Despite the rain leading up to the festival, there was nothing but sunshine over the Easter long weekend. And as always, there was plenty of delicious food to be enjoyed. See you again next year, Bluesfest!

2017 Nimbin Roots Festival

From September 15 – 17, over 50 talented artists will perform in Australia’s counter-culture capital for the annual Nimbin Roots Festival. After selling out in 2016, this year’s festival is set to be bigger and better than ever with two new stages and one extra day.

The Nimbin Roots Festival offers authentic, original, and raw roots art and music in various venues throughout the town. The venues – including the outdoor Rainbow Power Stage and the historic Nimbin Bush Theatre – are located short distances from each other, creating a community of walking festivalgoers.

This year’s lineup will see a diverse mix of local, national, and international musicians and artists perform Americana, Bluegrass, Folk, Australiana, Old Blues, and world music. American group The War and Treaty will share their Gospel style tunes, while the brand new Aquarius Stage will showcase Nimbin’s finest.

The festival will kick off on Friday afternoon, with a special opening concert on Friday night featuring performances from local Bunjalung dancers. The festival will close on Sunday evening with the Australian Roots Music Awards.

As well as the musicians, the Nimbin Roots Festival has invited a number of visual artists to display their unique work in the festival gallery. Art installations, interactive artworks, and themed camping also feature throughout the festival venues and campsite.

The Abundance Village will host a number of exciting workshops, including yoga, philosophy, permaculture, live art, weaving, poetry, belly dancing, body art, and kids’ activities. And, a community market area will host up to 30 colourful market stalls where festivalgoers can pick up a piece of Nimbin to take home with them.

The Nimbin Roots Festival is proudly moving toward sustainable forms of energy to power the live performances and art spaces, with a number of venues using solar power.

Festival tickets include opening and closing performances, as well as entrance into all venues and participation in all workshops.

Buy tickets and learn more at www.nrfest.com.

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