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2012 Byron Bay Film Festival

This is the year for Byron Bay International Film Festival. 16 World Premieres, 107 Australian Premiere’s, 191 films from 39 countries, a master class with Jack Thompson fresh from the set of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the latest film & a master class from surfing legend Jack McCoy, the Australian premiere of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, a fundraiser screening of Paul Cox’s new film The Dinner Party, filmmakers flying in from around the globe.

For further information, ticket sales & festival programme, visit

Mullum Music Festival : Poster

Mullum Music Festival : 4 Days, 8 Venues, Over 100 Performances. 24 - 27 November 2011.

For further information, visit;

stART me up

Byron Bay Surf Festival presents ‘stART me up’
Saturday October 22nd 1-5pm
Byron Youth Services

When I was a kid I would scribble perfect wave after perfect wave onto my schoolbooks. I would take my drawings of waves home and show my Mum and she always encouraged me and told me they looked great. So I kept drawing them. When I was older I looked back at the covers on my old schoolbooks and my drawings were never really that great, but because of my Mum's encouragement I never stopped producing art, and I still do today! JMc

Byron Bay Surf Festival presents 'stART me up', a new art exhibition for kids, developed by local artist James McMillan, in association with Real creative designs, Wings, and Volcom clothing. The purpose of stART me up is to encourage youth art and to give new and emerging young artkids (some very young!) a valuable and real opportunity to hang and expose their work, in an exhibition type environment.

There are prizes in each category, including paints and paintbrushes from Eco paints, with the major prize going to the winner of the 14 -18yrs group, receiving a 6-month artist mentorship program with James Mc. There is also the overall 'Volcom artist prize': One artists work, overall, will be selected to be a part of the Volcom clothing high-Summer range for early 2012 as a Featured Artist on their range of T-shirts which will be distributed all around Australia and New Zealand. This is Huge!! Once the their design is released the winner will also receive 10 of these t shirts to share with family and friends. Yew!!

The artshow will be on display at the Byron Bay YAC located in Gilmore crescent off Lawson Street opposite Byron main beach. It starts at 1pm and there will be a gold coin donations at the door, which will enable you to see the awesome art, watch the youth rock bands, and checkout the skating demo at 3.30pm. So come along everyone and have some fun!

Entries close Thursday October 20th at 4pm and can be delivered to 2/9 Marvell street Byron Bay, along with the $10 artist entry fee and A3 size artwork. More info at:

Surf Festival : Program

Visit for further information.

Byron Bay Surf Festival

Byron Bay Surf Festival 'surf culture now' Oct 21-23 2011

The Byron Bay Surf Festival is about 'Surf Culture Now'. It's gonna be rad, it's gonna be diverse and fun, and like the blond kid with the dripping wet hair said, 'it's gonna be cool.' On the weekend of 21-23 of October 2011 history will be created when the town of Byron Bay hosts it's first ever, dedicated Surf Festival. The wholesome focus is on the creative culture within surfing, including live music, filmmaking, original art, photography, and the shaping and riding of handmade surfboards.

Opening the festival will be none other than international surfing icon, Byron Bay local Bob McTavish, presenting a live surfboard shaping demonstration whilst sharing an historic look at his first trip to Byron Bay. Events over the weekend include, Surf markets, Surf Swap Meet, 'freestyle&stoke' surf sessions, surf related clinics, Surf World Museum, live music by Dan Hannaford, Josh Hamilton, The Grains, and film collaboration/live music event by Andrew Kidman and The Windy Hills. Original art from James McMillan, Mark Sutherland (Sutho), Hanai Yusuke (Japan), Luke Taffe, Rusty Miller, Vanessa Janss (USA) and others, including photography from surf filmmaking legends George Greenough and Albe Falzon.

Just one of the inspiring events is 'stART me up', a new art exhibition and mentoring program for kids, developed by local artist James McMillan, in conjunction with Retrospect Galleries and the Byron Bay Surf Festival. The purpose of 'stART me up' is to give new and emerging young art kids (some very young!) a valuable and real opportunity to hang and expose their art, in a well known and established art gallery. There are prizes in each age category from 4-16 years with the winner of the 13-16yrs group receiving a 6-month artist mentorship program.

Another exciting event being held on the Sunday morning between 8am and 12 noon is the Surf Swap Meet, open to one and all, and the 'freestyle&stoke' surf sessions. The idea behind this Surf Swap Meet is quite basic, even old age, in that you can actually swap one thing for another and no money is exchanged. Although anyone is welcome to just browse or even buy. Shapers attending and showing boards on the day include, Tom Wegener, Sage and Paul Joske, Simon Jones, Gary Burden and Thomas Bexon, all well known and respected craftsmen who practice the art of hand-shaping surfboards. And the 'freestyle&stoke' surf sessions; an expression session format surf event from 10am-12noon with 4 categories of 10 registered surfers in each, for half hour per category; Log (incl old mal), Fish (incl stub, hull), Finless (incl alaia), and Vintage (pre1980). It's about fun as well as being a display of surfboard riding on these particularly chosen mix of surfcraft.

At a glance the purpose and intention of this event is about creating a sustainable surfbent event for the local community to build on, and at large it's for everyone that surfs. 'The simple motivation behind The Byron Bay Surf Festival is to have a killer weekend in Byron Bay immersed in Surf Culture as we know it right now.'

See website for all full program, locations and images. Enjoy most of the events for free, just like surfing is! See you there.

Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – a treat for film enthusiasts

Movie buffs can look forward to a small but powerful film program featuring the great works of John Pilger, Louis de Bernières and Paul Cox as part of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival offsite events line-up.

Acclaimed film-making Paul Cox will participate in the In Search of Soul Festival series in the session The transformational power of trauma. Paul Cox’s book Tales from the Cancer Ward chronicles the moving portrayal of his own personal journey through liver cancer.  Festival Director Candida Baker says it is very special to have Cox present his film Innocence in a one-off screening. “Both Cox’s book and films seem to contain a quintessential European quality of dark and light sometimes missing from mainstream Australian film,” says Baker. “Cox will discuss the film after the screening which presents a rare chance to speak to one of the Australia’s most respected film makers.” Innocence will play at 5.00pm, Thursday, August 4, at the Dendy Byron Bay.

The Festival team is proud to present the Byron premiere of Louis de Bernières’ film Red Dog at the Dendy Cinema at 7.00pm, Friday, August 5.  De Bernières will be on hand after the film to explore further the story of the charismatic, hitch-hiking kelpie from the 70’s. “With the Observer describing the film as particular treat, Red Dog is for lovers of dogs and the Australian outback or just those who enjoy a good Aussie yarn,” says Baker. The screening is sponsored by Dendy Byron Bay Cinemas and Screen NSW.

Treats for film-enthusiasts don’t stop there.  A special screening of John Pilger’s controversial documentary The War You Don’t See will screen at the Byron Community Centre Theatre at 7.00pm Sunday, August 7. “We are thrilled that John will be available after the screening for a Q&A session, chaired by Mick O’Regan,” says Baker.

Baker believes adding film to the Festival program was an important aspect of the Passion theme: “All these filmmakers have created incredibly passionate works.  It is a great privilege to be able to present such a powerful line-up of films as part of the Festival program.”

Baker advises those wishing to attend film sessions to contact the Dendy and the Byron Community Centre.  Tickets for John Pilger are already on sale, and tickets for the Dendy shows will be available soon.

To purchase tickets visit or call 1300 368 552.

Ganga Giri at Durrumbul Hall

Earthdance Byron welcomes Ganga Giri as guest performing artist for this year’s event at Durrumbul Hall on Saturday September 18th with DJ selector and DJ Pob supporting. With lighting wizardry from Luminous Lights, decor by TrancEnhance and a pumping sound system – prepare yourself for an audio visual feast with one of the North Coast’s most popular and talented musicians. Ganga Giri, an inspired music creator whose passion brings people together in a modern day corroboree. Explosive and pulsating; ambient and flowing at times – Ganga Giri is a pumping percussive multi-layered experience of complex grooves and raw, deep natural sound.

Ganga Giri’s live show is a modern/primitive celebration; a melting pot unifying many musical genres and cultures. Delivering his unique and authentic taste of multicultural Australia GANGA GIRI’s music has been widely & wildly appreciated by music lovers in many countries in clubs, halls and at music festivals all over the world.

Earthdance is the world’s largest synchronized music and dance festival for peace. Since its inception, Earthdance has been held annually in over 500 locations in 80 countries with all events simultaneously joining together in the Prayer for Peace – a powerful moment of coherent intention. All the profits from this event will be donated to Olive Kids ( an organisation providing support for Palestinian orphans. Earthdance’ creed transcends the restrictive boundaries of ethnicity, nationality and religion aiming to unite people across the world in the name of peace through the medium of dance.

“We dance for peace and the healing of our planet earth, peace for all nations, peace in our communities and peace within ourselves”.

Everyone is welcome regardless of age and the event is alcohol free. Durrumbul Hall Saturday September 18th 2010 6:30pm – Midnight Tickets $20 on the door Volunteers needed in exchange for free tickets. Please contact Duncan on 0266 882350.

I am going to become a twitter. It will take me a while to find my feet as a twit and I have heard there is a lot of garbage being tweeted, so I will keep the frequency of my tweets reasonable.

I can’t forget the joke I heard on the Tonight Show with Conan Obrian;

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will merge to form one super time-wasting Web site called YouTwitFace.

Anyway – be sure to follow us on Twitter;

Byron Times By Shelley Neller

It is almost impossible to parody the New Age and alternative lifestylers in Byron Bay because our ordinary daily existence is frequently so "far out" (to coin a psychedelic phrase still popular in this territory), that it defies exaggerated mimicry.

Attempts to parody our local tribes only comes across as comic overkill; satire sounds stagey or superfluous, because, let's face it, we Byronites are already right at the esoteric and entertaining edge of unconventionality.

Or as one local quipped: "The truth is out there and so are we."

Having lived here since well into last century, I proffer a few favoured anecdotes to demonstrate my point.

  • In a yoga class several years ago, I heard a heavily tattooed and metal-studded student tell the teacher she could not do handstands for a few weeks because while helping her boyfriend erect their new home, one of the heavy teepee poles had fallen on her wrist.
  • Queuing for entrance to a group meditation of several hundred people one autumn afternoon, I got chatting to a mid-thirties man with hair down to his hips. In a sincere, mild-mannered voice, he told me that he'd been instructed by extraterrestrials not to cut his locks or the ensuing "hard" energy could harm and eventually kill him. I nodded sagely. His hair was remarkably lush and shiny, so, allowing the conversation to slide momentarily from the metaphysical to the mundane, I asked him which conditioner he used. He put his face close to mine and whispered conspiratorially that it was a secret blend of oils concocted by his ET friends.
  • The staff in the Byron Post Office must be among the friendliest and most efficient on the planet. However, as any tourist who has queued for stamps at the height of the season will know, the conga line for service can snake around the shop and out the door. This is what one of my friends calls the Zen corridor because it gives you the time and opportunity to practise being here now. One morning, while contemplating my own essential nature inside the "corridor", I heard a young girl greet a male friend who had just walked in. "Hi Krishna!" she called out heartily. Krishna took one look at the length of the queue, and with a twinkle in his eye, replied: "I'm not yet, but I will be when I get home."
  • On the footpath in Fletcher Street only a few weeks ago, I overheard a snatch of conversation between three youths in boardshorts and T-shirts. "OK," said the tallest. "First we go to Centrelink (the dole office), then the pawnbroker, then the surf shop. OK?" The other two nodded, and the trio sped off on their skateboards.

I could recount more stories, but you get the drift.

However, while much of our local lifestyle cannot be parodied, it can, if you have a yen for it, be experienced directly. You need only consult the voice of the people, The Byron Shire Echo, to make your choice. The Echo's classifieds -- from the public notices, health ads and share accommodation to the garage sales and the lost and found -- are read as assiduously as its news and features.

In the classifieds, you will find not only your average, run-of--the-mill alternative modalities such as naturopaths, homeopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, kinesiologists and clinical hypnotherapists, but also therapeutic methods such as dolphin healing energy, voice dialogue, Vedic astrology, tantric sex, floats and a whole raft of massage styles -- Hawaiian, Swedish, shiatsu, pre-natal, deep tissue, liquid bodywork, et al.

The healing business, presumably, is brisk, for as Wendell Berry once claimed: "The sufferer is by definition a customer." Byron is chokka with them. Every second urban refugee you meet has chronic fatigue syndrome and has come here to rest and recuperate. Hardly surprising, because this is a place whose general ambience and community mindset allows you to take enough time off to find out who you are apart from what you do. And not to feel guilty about it in the process.

Around here we generally don't ask people what they do, we ask them how they are. An important distinction. The former question queries a person's doingness, their productivity, that Western industrial imperative which has come to define and rank people according to its volume and intensity. The latter question merely asks after a man's or woman's wellbeing. And besides, a goodly number of Byron residents don't "do" regular nine-to-five work. A large percentage are on welfare; a certain privileged proportion lead dilettantish, hothouse lives supported by family stipends from foreign countries; and then there are those who grow "Mullumbimby Madness" (that's Byron demotic for marijuana, although it also turns up as the name of a particularly tasty pizza topping at the local Earth 'n Sea Restaurant). So, if you're new to the Rainbow Region, remember: it's not local etiquette to inquire about a resident's occupation immediately upon meeting them

But, back to the unlimited life options via The Echo... If you're feeling more outwardly bound socially, you may want to step out to a dance party, rock up to a hip hop gig, learn the salsa, Egyptian or pagan dance or -- why not? -- African drumming. You might decide to lie about your birthday and gatecrash a Scorpio cabaret party.

Or perhaps you'd prefer to attend full moon or kundalini meditations, chant in company, sit for satsang, discover Taoist secrets of love, join a psychic circle, attend a shamanic weekend, have your chakras rebalanced, participate in a pelvic floor exercise group, or stretch out at a yoga class (Iyengar, astanga, vinyasana, Oki Do, all on offer).

Need more practical or creative engagement with the world? Why not get life coaching, learn woodwork, audition for a local choir, join a landcare group to help protect coastal dunes or a rare smooth Davidsonia patch, find out where to get your Oriental rugs washed and repaired, order a cannabis cookbook or -- as entirely separate gestures, of course -- find out more about Steiner education or hire a girl clown for your kids' party?

My aim here is not to denigrate local lifestyles, but to chronicle and celebrate their diversity. As I said in my recently published book about Byron Bay, Love Letters from Mother Nature

"It is easy to take cheap shots at the self-discovery phenomenon that has been building up amongst ordinary people across the planet since the baby boomers hit the scene. It is simplistic and convenient to call people's preoccupation with self-knowledge 'narcissism'. But, as [Theodore] Roszak points out, those firing the shots ' hear the desire to be treated as special and unique and they call it self-indulgence. They bemoan the buzz-words on the surface, failing to attend the desperate need beneath. Shall we say they 'pity the plumage, but forget the dying bird?'

"Yes, I, too, cringe at the crass mass marketing of mind, body and spirit, the bizarreries, the psychobabble, the distorted distillations of deeper truths, at the proselytising New Age neophytes (and they are as rampant as lantana around here) who, uninvited, lay their poultices of newfound 'wisdom' - slap! - on the psyche of the nearest living being. Like the satirist said: 'A little learning is a dangerous thing.' Yet in this pervasive shift in societal direction, I share Roszak's view that it is of 'great political, personal and ecological value ... It is the brave beginning of a project that both the person and the planet require... If this be narcissism, make the most of it.' "

Speaking of making the most of it, I'm off to a yoga class at the Byron Yoga Arts School. Now which of the school's studios will I favour today? Studio One, located above the dole office or Studio Two, upstairs from the organic butchery?

Raggamuffin 2009 – Reggae Festival in Byron Bay

Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural reggae festival Raggamuffin, fans will be delighted to hear it’s happening all over again with Raggamuffin 2009.

Ziggy Marley, Eddy Grant, Ali Campbell, Shaggy, Arrested Development, Inner Circle and Bonjah will perform at six events nationally and one in New Zealand, kicking off on January 24 in Perth. Raggamuffin played to more than 70,000 ecstatic fans through February this year, emphatically proving that reggae is alive and well! This year’s event again offers a six hour musical feast of the world’s best reggae artists, with a healthy dose of funk, dub, hip hop and soul. It will be the first ever visit to Australia by Eddy Grant.

So there you have it… seven great bands providing a veritable musical reggae feast, welcome to Raggamuffin 2009!

Check out the website for all the details.


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