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
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.
Visiting Byron on a budget? There are plenty of free things to do in Byron Bay. Check out 7 of our favourites below.
1. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse
Be one of the first in Australia to watch the sunrise – there really is no better way to start the day in Byron Bay. Walk from the Wategos car park up to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Byron Bay. As the sun rises over the water, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the day’s first light.
2. Wander through the Byron Bay Markets
On the first Sunday of each month, the Butler Street Reserve plays host to the popular Byron Bay Markets. With a range of local and imported arts and crafts, fashion, beauty, kids’ stuff and food, the unique Byron Markets are must for any visitor to the region. Entry is free, but you’ll probably be tempted to pick up a souvenir or two (or at least a Byron Bay Organic Doughnut)!
If you're not in Byron for the first Sunday of the month, chances are there are other markets on in the Byron region. Check out our upcoming markets calendar.
3. Check out the Lone Goat Gallery
Byron Bay and surrounding regions are home to some of Australia’s most talented visual artists, so check out what’s on at the Lone Goat Gallery next time you’re in town. Located on the corner of Lawson and Middleton Street, this vibrant exhibition space is within walking distance from the centre of town.
4. Explore waterfalls near Byron Bay
Just a short drive from Byron Bay you’ll find two stunning waterfalls: Minyon Falls (about 45-minute drive) and Killen Falls (about 30-minute drive). Take the whole day to visit both. Stop for lunch at a hinterland eatery, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the scenic surrounds.
5. Sit on the beach
Byron has a lot to offer, but one of the very best ways to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Byron Bay is to sit on the beach and do nothing. With white sand, picturesque headlands, and crystal clear water, Byron is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Swim, surf, read, sleep, or people-watch, a visit to Byron Bay is not complete without a trip to at least one of the area’s beautiful beaches.
6. Catch some live music
Byron Bay has a thriving nightlife, including venues that offer free live music everyday of the year. The Railway Friendly Bar (known as The Rails) is one such place. Located on Johnson Street, The Rails is the perfect place to meet with friends and check out the local talent.
7. Watch a free movie
Once a month, the Beach Hotel puts on a free movie night. With outdoor seating, blankets to keep you warm, and a range of movie snacks on offer, it’s the ultimate movie experience in Byron Bay. Check their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the next monthly movie night.
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.
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