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2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival

The annual Byron Bay Surf Festival is back. From Thursday, February 22 to Sunday, February 25, 2018, experience the best surf culture has to offer. From art, music, and film, to board shaping, fashion, and of course, surfing, get ready to celebrate the many facets of the surf lifestyle.

2018’s festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole host of brand-new events and Surf Fest favourites.

First up, the Surf Festival has been extended by one whole day. That means more opportunities to immerse yourself in surf culture, and get involved in the many free and paid-for events the festival has to offer.

Secondly, Friday will now host its own surf event. More details to come, so stay tuned.

Finally, the crowd-favourite ‘Surf Lit Lounge’ is getting an exciting makeover. Now titled the ‘Surf Legend Lounge,’ this event will kick off the festival in style. Taking place in the Byron Community Centre, the Surf Legend Lounge will give you the opportunity to mingle with some of the surfing world’s greatest icons, and soak up their inspirational insights on adventure, surfboards, arts, culture, and sustainability.

Early-birds will enjoy food and drink, plus live music. This event is a fantastic way to catch up with old friends, meet new friends, and feel inspired about the days to come.

Plus, all FEELGOOD and FREE events from the last Surf Festival will be back in action in 2018. That includes the iconic Sunset Cinema, the Art Show, the popular Surf Art Markets, Live Music, and much more.

Don’t forget to head to the beautiful Wategos beach, and get involved in the Freestyle & Stoke sessions.

For all the latest info, visit www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au.

Rod Evans: The Artist Behind the Moon Rise Time-lapse

In early September, we shared an incredible time-lapse of the full moon rising behind Byron’s iconic lighthouse to the Byron Bay Facebook page. It was one of our most popular posts ever, with over 75,000 minutes of video watched by more than 350,000 people.

The time-lapse shows a huge, yellow-orange moon rise from the horizon, up past the lighthouse, and into the darkening sky. The footage is spectacular – you can watch it below.

The time-lapse was created by local photographer and teacher-in-training Rod Evans. Evans lives in the lush Byron Hinterland, and captures the natural beauty of the region’s beaches, landscapes, sunsets, markets, moon rises, and more in his stunning photography and time-lapses.

As well as posting his work to his Instagram and Facebook page, he is an ABC Open contributor.

Recently, Evans has explored the possibilities of light painting.

Light painting is a photographic technique where images are made by moving a light source while taking a long exposure photo. The results are otherworldly, as streams of colour ribbon through the night sky seemingly independent.

Evans’s light painting images have had great success: they’ve been featured in The Weekend Australian Magazine, placed at the Lismore Show, and even reached the number one spot on the front page of Reddit.

Alongside fellow Byron Bay photographer Caroline Fisher, Evans has assisted with light painting workshops. These give photography enthusiasts the chance to learn light painting techniques – including the correct camera settings – and experiment with light-producing materials.

Keep up with Rod Evans on Instagram, his Facebook Page and visit www.rodevansvisual.com to learn more.

The Byron Bay International Film Festival 2017 Award Winners

The 2017 Byron Bay International Film Festival, which ran between October 6 – 15, has come to an end. The festival saw a spectacular program of Australian and international short and feature length film screenings at a number of venues across the region.

The Closing Gala included a short but sweet awards ceremony, where the coveted ‘Best Film’ accolade was awarded to festival favourite ‘One Less God.’ This moving feature held audiences spellbound during the two festival screenings, as it revealed the intense experiences of Taj Mahal Palace guests and staff as they faced two terrorist attackers in 2008.

Co-producer Maren Smith had this to say about the film’s Byron debut: “The packed houses and the audience buzz at Byron really bodes well for our upcoming theatrical release, so we can’t wait to share it with a wide audience.”

‘One Less God’ will be screened in Mumbai this year.

Other notable winners included ‘Jungle’ directed by Greg McLean, which took out Best Dramatic Feature, and ‘Church of the Open Sky’ directed by Nathan Oldfield, which won Best Byron Film.

The Best Short award was given to ‘Uncanny Valley’ directed by Federico Heller, which offered a harrowing look at the impact VR technology and advanced video gaming could have on our society.

The full list of winners, which you can check out below, is a true representation of the diversity and incredibly high calibre of filmmaking the Byron Bay International Film Festival offers.

We look forward to seeing what BBFF brings to the region in 2018.

 

The 11th Annual Byron Bay International Film Festival Winners

BEST FILM AWARD WINNER

One Less God

Director: Lliam Worthington

 

BEST DRAMATIC FEATURE WINNER

Jungle

Director: Greg McLean

Honourable Mention: An American in Texas

Director: Anthony Pedone

 

BEST SURF FILM

Heavy Water

Director: Michael Oblowitz

 

BEST ANIMATION

Loving Vincent

Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

 

BEST ENVIRONMENTAL FILM

Blue

Director: Karina Holden

 

BEST YOUNG AUSTRALIAN FILMMAKER

Mwah

Director: Nina Buxton

 

BEST BYRON FILM

Church of the Open Sky

Director: Nathan Oldfield

 

BYRON BAY INTERNATIONAL SCREENPLAY AWARD 

Broken Head

Writer: Clare Sladden

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Radio Dreams

Director: Babak Jalali

 

BEST EXPREMINETAL FILM

A Dragon Arrives

Director: Mani Haghighi

 

BEST SHORT

Uncanny Valley

Director: Federico Heller

 

BEST INTERACTIVE VR

Hue

Director: Nicole McDonald

 

BEST CINEMATIC VR

Miyubi

Director: Felix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël

 

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Director: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana

 

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Love is a Lonely Dancer

Artist: Antony & Cleopatra

Director: Alan Masferrer

 

Learn more at www.bbff.com.au

Enjoy a Spring Break in Byron Bay

Winter is officially over – it’s time to celebrate.

Beat the summer rush and take a spring break in beautiful Byron Bay. Visit the region from September through November and experience warm and sunny weather, relatively quiet beaches, and the tail end of the whale season.

Spring Getaway in Byron Bay: 5 Places to Stay

Not sure where to stay? Here’s some springtime inspiration.

1. Byron by the Beach

Relax and unwind in the sunshine with the sweet sound of crashing waves at this stunning, open-plan holiday house. Situated a short walk from the centre of town, this 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom home features large French doors, air-conditioning, a BBQ, laundry facilities, an outdoor shower, and an idyllic verandah.

Quick facts:

  • 5 bedrooms: 3 queen rooms, one bunk room, one twin room
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 8 or 10 if family with children
  • 3-minute walk to town
  • 1-minute walk to Belongil Beach

Learn more about Byron by the Beach.

2. A Byron Experience

Experience the best Byron has to offer this spring – enjoy A Byron Experience. This self-contained holiday apartment is tucked away in the centre of Byron’s bustling town. Private and tasteful, this two-storey home-away-from-home is encompassed by a luscious tropical garden, and features 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Quick facts:

  • 2 bedrooms: 1 king room, 1 twin room (can be pushed together to form a king)
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 6
  • Located in the centre of town
  • 4-minute walk to iconic Main Beach

Learn more about A Byron Experience.

3. A Seventh Heaven

Soak up the springtime sunshine at A Seventh Heaven, a boutique, two-storey holiday apartment ideally situated in the centre of Byron Bay. This newly-furnished 3-bedroom home features a light, open-plan design, and a north-facing, sun-filled terrace overlooking lush gardens. Experience Byron’s gourmet eateries, or head to the beach – the choice is yours.

Quick facts:

  • 3 bedrooms: 2 queen rooms with ensuites, 1 double room
  • 3 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 6
  • Located in the centre of town
  • 2-minute walk to the beach

Learn more about A Seventh Heaven.

4. Beach Haven 7

Escape to Beach Haven 7 this spring, and experience penthouse living at its finest. Situated on the top floor of a small complex, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom holiday apartment is directly across the road from Clarkes Beach. Flooded with light, this comfortable holiday home features high-ceilings, an airy, open-plan living area, and a north-facing balcony.

Quick facts:

  • 3 bedrooms: 1 queen room, 2 twin rooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 6
  • 7-minute walk to town
  • 1-minute walk to Clarkes Beach

Learn more about Beach Haven 7.

5. Three by the Sea

Celebrate spring Byron style at Three by the Sea. This recently renovated, island-luxe holiday apartment offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully-equipped kitchen. The generous master bedroom features an ensuite bathroom and large, private deck. Enjoy a home-cooked meal al fresco, or head into town for a unique culinary experience. Take a dip in the complex’s heated pool, or take the short walk to picturesque Belongil Beach.

Quick facts:

  • 2 bedrooms: 1 queen room with ensuite, 1 twin room
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 5
  • 15-20 minute beach walk to town
  • 2-minute walk to Belongil Beach

Learn more about Three by the Sea.

Street Removed: Connect with the Byron Shire Community

Discover the people that make Byron Shire’s communities so special with Street Removed. Lead by Bangalow resident Terry Brown of Byron Video, the videos provide an authentic look at beautiful Byron Bay and surrounds.

Street Removed goes behind the scenes of the town. The method is simple: Terry picks up a camera and microphone, walks through the town, and chats with locals. Everything is entirely unscripted and 100 percent real. These conversations help fellow residents, as well as visitors, get to know the warm and welcoming community and culture of the region.

Incredibly, Street Removed's walk around Bangalow was chosen as one of nine Australian finalists in QANTAS's #mytownspirit promotion. Voting has now closed, and we eargerly await the result. 

Check out this episode of Street Removed. You’ll meet Mon, an employee at Woods Bangalow with a passion for hats.

For even more Street Removed, head over the Street Removed Facebook Page for live walks through town, where Terry stops and connects with the locals for more insightful conversations.

Or, learn about the dedicated people who make local events – such as the Sample Food Festival – possible.

Terry believes that it’s the people – not the landmarks – that make a town unique. Through his Street Removed project, he hopes to encourage others to connect with one another. It’s as easy as saying hello!

Sample Food Festival 2017 Recap

It was a perfect spring day for the annual Sample Food Festival. Flocks of hungry foodies headed to the scenic Bangalow Showground between 8am and 4pm on Saturday, September 2nd to sample the very best dishes from the Byron region.

Attendees were spoilt for choice, with top restaurants offering $5 and $10 tasting plates, plus over 150 producers and lifestyle exhibitors.

Among the celebrity chefs was Matt Golinski, pictured here adding crunch to his dish with roughly chopped macadamina nuts on stage with Samantha Gowing.

The Sample Food Festival handed out their Golden Fork Awards to the best small and large tasting plate at the festival. The $5 plate winner was Katrina Kanetani of TOWN Restaurant and Cafe with her Pina Colada Pannacotta. And, the $10 plat winner was Sarah Swann of DUK by 100 Mile Table for Char Siu with her Steam Asian Greens & Rice. Delicious!

Instagrammer Lauran Bath lead the Australian Macadamina Instameet. Donzens of photographers creatively captured (…and ate) macadamia nuts and a range of macadamia nut products.

2017 was another successful year for the always popular Sample Food Festival. See you next year.

11th Annual Byron Bay Film Festival October 6-15

#CINEMAFORTHESENSES

It’s time to answer the siren call of Byron Bay – to its beautiful beaches and bush, and to the rich cultural feast that is the Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF).
 
Now in its 11th year, BBFF spans across ten days in six venues, featuring over 175 independent films, and attracting filmmakers and film-lovers from all over the world; it is the Australia’s most loved regional film festival.
 
Last year the festival celebrated its milestone 10th birthday, with celebrity endorsements from some of the film world’s top names – including A-listers Idris Elba, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston, who said it was “certainly the best film festival in Australia”. The festival had its stamp on the international calendar, and as it has done every year, increased its international reach.
 
This year the festival launched with a stirring video made by acclaimed Storm Surfers director and now local resident, Justin McMillan, with Director of Water Photography Stefan José joining other Byron locals to help out.
 
The video captures not just the glory of surfing on this part of the coast, but the freedom to be found in the Byron landscape, and embodies the high-quality aesthetic of the festival, and lights up the sensory experience of both the unique Byron Bay experience, as well as the immersive wonder of film. It captivates and offers the viewer ‘Cinema for the Senses’ – the perfect taster of what festival goers might experience in 2017. View the trailer now, via www.bit.ly/2iA5jJ5
 
Once again there is a unique and diverse line-up from around the world. This is truly an international event, with documentaries, drama and comedy from some of the most remote corners of the earth, as well as the best from young Australian filmmakers and their contemporaries overseas. Find out more about the Young Filmmaker Award via www.bbff.com.au
 
Virtual Reality (VR) and other high tech of the moving image will be explored and shared. The Byron Bay Film Festival has been a pioneer and leader in the burgeoning Byron Bay innovation movement, which has created countless entrepreneurial and industrial opportunities for the creative industries and beyond. The Ncubat8 Program offers the opportunity for a young filmmaker to work on VR with a local industry professional. More information on this can be found on the festival website.
 
Move seamlessly from one world into another: dry off, brush the sand from your feet, and step into the infinite universe of the cinema, to be transported to another place and time.
 
Then there’s the parties, the meet-the-stars and film-makers events, the workshops, live music and action!
 
The Byron Bay Film Festival is illuminated with two dazzling red carpet gala events in the heart of town. Opening Night offers a chance for industry networking and a taste of the flavour of the festival to come, and features a highlight film screening. The culminating celebration event is an exciting night of recognition for filmmakers, the festival, Byron Bay, and the international film industry, and not to be missed. Early ticket purchases are recommended to avoid disappointment to these two popular events.
 
The 11th Annual Byron Bay Film Festival is held on Friday 6 – Sunday 15 October 2017 in multiple venues throughout Byron Bay and surrounding suburbs.
 
Program will be released over the coming weeks.

Tickets are on sale now via www.bbff.com.au
 

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.

Markets in the Byron region this August

The Byron region is known for its community markets, and although it’s winter in Byron Bay, the sunny weather has been perfect for a stroll through the colourful stalls. Take a day trip this August to check out one of the many markets. Or, make a weekend of it and take advantage of Byron Bay’s Winter Specials.

Here’s an overview of the markets on this August.

August 5 – Brunswick Heads Markets PLUS New North Coast Village Market

Brunswick Heads is a small, picturesque town situated on the Brunswick River a short 17 minute drive from Byron Bay.

The Brunswick Heads Markets take place on the first Saturday of each month in Memorial Park. With the beautiful river as a backdrop, the many stalls offer clothing, homewares, beauty, jewellery, and more, plus delicious food and excellent coffee.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/brunswick-heads-markets

August 5 marks the very first North Coast Village Market, which will also be held on the first Saturday of each month. Taking place in the art deco Memorial Hall (a short walk from Memorial Park), market-goers can expect a range of designer homewares, artisan jewellery, quality vintage, and a kids’ hang out.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/ncvmarket

August 6 – Byron Bay Markets

On the first Sunday of each month from 8am to 3pm, the Butler Street Reserve is transformed into a colourful display of Byron’s community spirit, with rainbows and glitter galore. With a uniquely Byron vibe, the Byron Markets offer a diverse range of handmade wares, artworks, local and imported clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, fresh produce, baked goods, and more.

Come early and stay for lunch – there’s plenty of delicious food and drink options available. Take a seat in the shade, enjoy the live entertainment, and watch the world go by.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/byron-community-markets/

August 12 – The BYRON FLEA Market

Held on the second Saturday of the month at the Youth Activity Centre (also known as the YAC) in Byron Bay, the BYRON FLEA is unlike any market in the region. Market stalls are free for people under the age of 25, allowing young creatives to showcase their work to the public. You’ll find a variety of arts, crafts, and second-hand goods.

What’s more, all live music is performed by music students from Byron Bay High.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/blog/byron-flea-market/

August 13 – The New Mullum Twilight Market

Check out the Byron Shire’s newest afternoon market this August – the Mullum Twilight Market. Held at Poinciana cafe and bar in scenic Mullumbimby from 2pm to 8pm, this exciting new Eco Market will take place once every 2 weeks after August 13.

With a whole host of tasty food, boutique stalls, live entertainment (including DJs), and more, the Mullum Twilight Market is set to become a local favourite.

Join the Facebook Event at www.facebook.com/events/1398583826886273

August 13 – The Channon Market

 “Make it. Bake it. Grow it.” That’s the Channon Market’s motto. And it’s diverse collection of stalls deliver stunning handmade arts and crafts, delicious treats, fresh produce and more.

The markets take place in Coronation Park in The Channon, a hinterland village about a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay.

Learn more at thechannonmarket.org.au

August 19 – Mullumbimby Markets

On the third Saturday of the month, the Mullumbimby Markets take place in Summers Park, located on the corner of Stuart and Myocum Streets. A short 25-minute drive from Byron Bay, the Mullum Markets showcase some of the best artists, food vendors, and musicians from the Northern Rivers region.

The Mullumbimby Markets run from 9am until 2pm.

Learn more at www.mullummarkets.com.au

August 19 – Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market

Taking place at Knox Park on Brisbane Street in lush Murwillumbah (approx. 50-minute drive from Byron Bay), this new makers and finders market showcases the very best art, craft, music, and vintage wares in the region. Discover beauty, jewellery, home wares, pottery, top quality second hand, exciting food stalls and local entertainment.

The Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market runs from 10am to 3pm.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/makersandfindersmarkets

August 26 – Bangalow Markets

Set below the camphor laurel and fig trees, the beloved Bangalow markets are some of the best on the North Coast. On the fourth Sunday of the month, the Bangalow Showgrounds fill with over 300 stalls selling ceramics, clothing, jewellery, beauty products, fresh produce, baked goods, hot food, and great coffee.

Open from 9am until after lunch, the Bangalow Markets are a quick 20-minute drive from Byron By.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/bangalow

Weekly Farmers Markets in the Byron Bay Region

In addition to the monthly community markets, many of the towns and villages in the region play host to their very own weekly farmers market. These provide the perfect opportunity to sample the Byron Shire’s outstanding fresh produce.

  • New Brighton Farmers Market at the New Brighton Oval, River St, New Brighton (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Tuesdays from 8am – 11am.
  • Byron Farmers Market at Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay. Thursdays from 8am –  11am.
  • Mullumbimby Farmers Market at the Mullumbimby Showground, 51 Main Arm Road, Mullumbimby (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Fridays from 7am – 11am.
  • Bangalow Farmers Market at the Bangalow Hotel Carpark, 1 Byron St, Bangalow (20-minute drive from Byron Bay). Saturdays from 8am – 11am.

 

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