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The 2018 Byron Bay Film Festival

Byron Bay Film Festival runs from October 12-21 at the Byron Community Centre and venues in Brunswick Heads and Murwillumbah. The BBFF2018 program and tickets – including 6, 10 or 20-ticket flexi-passes – can be booked online at BBFF.com.au.

The full program for the Byron Bay Film Festival is now available online, introducing a stellar showcase of over 155 films, including 21 documentaries, 15 dramatic features, 20 music videos and 68 shorts as well as an extensive selection of Virtual Reality experiences.

Chosen from nearly 1000 submitted works, the selection reflects the progressive, relaxed, yet engaged ethos of the idyllic coastal town, where surfing, the environment, music, art, health and social activism are key concerns of everyday life.
 
This year the span reaches from the surf off Sierra Leone to the limpid waters of Hawaii’s Kauai Island, from the smoggy bustle of downtown Manila to the infinitely clear and silent skies that dominate the night in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
 
Absorbing documentaries explore the hidden world of the internet’s “content moderators”, the ever expanding role of Artificial Intelligence in our lives, two very different ground-breaking Japanese artists, young Buddhist monks, and how dogs can help us to lead saner lives. The late Rob Stewart’s courageous inquiry into the horrific shark finning industry has particular relevance for the North Coast.
 
Local and talented young Australian documentary filmmakers are prominent alongside their international peers, with stimulating studies of men’s mental health, obsessive pop fandom, the importance of Aboriginal culture, and the crisis in the Kimberley – and the Latrobe Valley.
 
A standout film is Dying to Live from Frackman director Richard Todd, which looks searchingly at Australians’ seeming reluctance to donate their organs for transplant.
 
There are also Australian-made dramas showing that will launch their directors, writers and actors onto the world stage, although some, such as the creator of Jirga, Benjamin Gilmour, are there already, following the film’s sensational reception at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The Byron screening is a sneak preview before Jirga has its theatrical release, and will be presented in person by Gilmour – now a Byron Shire resident.
 
Other dramas range from dark and almost surreal comedies from Latvia and Iran, romances blossoming within war zones (and an abattoir), and adventures from the Arctic to the south of France. A supernatural thriller, The School, is another product of a Byron Shire team. 


 
The festival also has what is perhaps Australia’s most comprehensive offering of virtual and augmented reality experiences on offer, plus workshops, panels, parties, and even a breath work meditation with visual accompaniment.
 
It’s a 10-day extravaganza of entertainment, learning and fun –Byron Bay’s most colourful and glamorous cultural event – and everyone is invited. Visit the website www.bbff.com.au and their Facebook Page for further details and tickets.

The Mullum Music Festival

From humble beginnings, the picturesque village of Mullumbimby has hosted the Mullum Music Festival (MMF) since its inception in 2008.

Nestled amongst the surrounding mountains in the Byron Bay hinterland, this diverse community of just over 3000 people has embraced this very different type of music event. The last decade has seen more than 600 world-class artists and thousands of people make their way to the festival, not bad for a little festival that started on the night of the electrical storm of the decade.

"The street parade kicks off the final day of a festival which shares a Shire with some of the country's biggest. Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Falls all run around here, but it's Mullum Fest which is truly the jewel in this area's crown."- Rolling Stone

Over the past decade Mullum Music Festival has evolved into one of the most successful boutique festivals in the country, proving small isn't just beautiful, it's also economically & environmental sustainable.

No gates. No big headlines. No VIP areas. Basically a ‘No hassle’ festival. A festival where artists and performers mingle, where shows are held in halls, clubs and pubs rather than tents, and instead of driving hours to park in a field and trudge on site, patrons become enmeshed in the spirit of a vibrant village.

“It’s a great feeling returning to the usually sleepy township of Mullumbimby … It’s a beautiful, restful place any time you drop by, but you know that for one weekend a year it’s transformed into a vibrant mecca of music and community, and during that window there’s no better place to be.” - The Music

The town’s array of boutique performance spaces, cafés, parks, buses and streets are filled with some of the world’s finest international musicians alongside the regions incredibly diverse and talented artists.

"It’s not just about one act, but rather all the performers. Mullum Festival is about the experience. Everyone knows that. It’s all about the people. All of the people. Everyday People!” says Festival Director Glenn Wright

The 2018 event takes place November 15-18, for full details and tickets visit www.mullummusicfestival.com.

Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk

SEPT 28TH - 2ND OCT 2018 

Over 50 nationally recognised artists installing works in the unique landscape of Brunswick Heads N.S.W.

The 'Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk' invites nationally recognised artists to present works from the popular to the conceptually demanding.

Providing much needed opportunities for regional artists to engage with community and offer workshops and mentoring by interstate and local artists across different regions and states.

Visitors can engage with a range of sculptures and participate in art and environment workshops, guided tours and information from local environment groups such as Byron Bird Buddies, Landcare and Dune Care specialists.

Connecting Artists and Community through sculpture in the environment where all 'play a part & all like to play'. Workshops with artists, students and community, learn more at www.brunswicknaturesculpturewalk.com

World Indigenous Leaders Converge at Byron Bay for Global Healing

UNITY EARTH presents “Fields of Healing: A Journey of Awakening”
BYRON BAY, NOVEMBER 24-25, 2018: 

  • An historic convergence of local and global Indigenous leaders joining artists, activists, musicians and healers for the inaugural “Fields of Healing” event at North Byron Parklands.
  • Legendary Eskimo Shaman from Greenland, Uncle Angaangaq to visit Australia for the first time 
  • Grammy Nominated Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni and other acclaimed international Artists coming to support the event
  • Hereditary Dakota Chief and Global Unity Activist Chief Phil Lane Junior’s first visit to Australia
  • Dr. Mindahi Bastida, Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, returns to Australia for Fields of Healing
  • Commemorating the one-year anniversary of the momentous occasion of the Return to Country of Mungo Man. Indigenous people from the Lake Mungo descendants coming to Byron offering ceremony and songs for healing
  • UNITY EARTH is partnering with local indigenous community and other grassroots community organisations
  • Sam Cook, an indigenous Australian woman with a global profile and track record of event management is Event Director for Fields of Healing

A truly historic gathering, Fields of Healing, is to be held at North Byron Parklands, on the 24th and 25th November 2018. The event will bring together line-up of renowned healers, musicians, artists and thought-leaders for a historic “Convergence of Healing”. The event is co-hosted with local Minyungbal Song Man Uncle Magpie, traditional custodian of the land where this unique global-gathering is taking place.  UNITY EARTH is also working closely with neighbouring custodian Auntie Delta Kay of the Arakwal people and working in collaboration with the excellent Culture Aware initiative. The inaugural event Fields of Healing is delighted to also feature outstanding international acts Kristin Hoffman, Premik Russel Tubbs and GRAMMY® nominated Rocky Dawuni. Rocky was recently appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment. Local artists including Áine Tyrrell and Dane Kennedy are also performing.  

Uncle Angaangaq from Greenland has been travelling the world since 1975 raising the alarm to the global community about climate change and the melting of the Big Ice in this homeland. 

He says “my father told me to never go anywhere without being invited and I am so happy to be invited and accept that invitation, I’ve never been to Australia, I’ve never had a chance to visit you, you are my family, I will come with an open heart. Most importantly I will come with peace in my heart.”

Chief Phil Lane Jr, founder of Four Worlds International Institute has been a global activist working on peace, human unity and reconciliation for decades but like Uncle Angaangaq has never before been to Australia. Uncle Phil who believes that “Fields of Healing, is part of the fulfilment of Indigenous Prophecies everywhere on Mother Earth” is being accompanied by his Dakoda “Koda” (spiritual brother) Darcy Demas. Chief Phil says “both myself and my Koda Darcy Demas are so looking forward to visiting our relatives in Australia for Fields of Healing in November.  We are fulfilling a journey my beloved father always talked about. He said they have very good horses in Australia”. 

Of further historic importance, the event will also mark the one-year anniversary of the deeply historic Return to Country of Mungo Man in November 2017. This profound healing moment when the ancient remains of Mungo Man, a 42 000 years old human ancestor, were returned to his country in the Willandra Lakes Region of New South Wales, marks an important moment for Australia’s waking up and growing up. Representatives of the Indigenous group associated with Lake Mungo will attend Fields of Healing, continuing the important healing journey of this Ancestral Spirit. 

Dr Mindahi C. Bastida Munoz is a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi Peoples of Mexico and Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Dr Bastida was one of the international dignitaries at the Mungo Man Return to County commemorations in 2017 and is delighted to be returning To Australia for Fields of Healing, saying: 

“After attending the historic ceremonies of Return to Country of Mungo Man last November in Mildura, I am excited to be returning to Australia for Fields of Healing in Byron Bay. This is a great opportunity to strengthen our connections with aboriginal peoples and our aboriginal brothers and sisters from ancestral Australia. Also for the healing and balancing Mother Earth through ritual ceremonies in Australia’s Sacred Sites”. 

North Byron Parklands is a stunningly beautiful 660-acre cultural arts and music events venue. It is country which has deep significance for the local Aboriginal groups the Minyungbal and Arakwal people.

The two-day gathering is designed as both a “gathering” and a “retreat” offering an intimate experience capped at just 1500 people to ensure intimacy of attendees and delegates. Sam Cook is the Creative Director, herself an indigenous Australian and highly credentialed Festival director with decades of experience utilising the Arts as a force for healing and cultural expression. These two life-affirming days on the beautiful North Byron Parklands will be a deep shared experience of healing, intercultural community and personal transformation with powerful music, soulful food, healing ceremonies and healing circles. The event is alcohol and drug free and is designed to be family friendly with special activities for children who come along. It is a not for profit event. Unity Earth invite all who feel called, to come and gather for this powerful and historic event. Early bird tickets are available until September 30th. Go to www.fieldsofhealing.com.au for more info and to book.

Unity Earth Background
Unity Earth is a worldwide collective dedicated to promoting intercultural harmony, healing, and transformation through music, events and by weaving stories together into larger inclusive narratives. Unity Earth was a convenor and sponsor of the Return to Country Festival commemorating Mungo Man’s homecoming in 2017 as well as U Day Festival in Ethiopia in 2018. U Day Festival is planned for India in 2019 and Jerusalem in 2020. 

Byron Writers Festival 2018 re-cap

The Byron Writers Festival 2018 (August 3-5) is now over. And, with over 150 sessions featuring more than 140 writers from Australia and abroad, the three-day event was entertaining, inspirational, and thought-provoking.

Over 12,000 festival-goers were treated to perfect weather all weekend long. In the late winter sunlight, the site’s many sculptures and rainbow flags create a vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere. Plus, the on-site food and coffee were sensational, especially when enjoyed picnic-style by the water.   

The diverse range of sessions, performances, and panel discusses celebrated story-telling in all its forms, from the political to the poetic and everything in between.

We can’t wait to see what next year’s festival will offer.

Crowds on the move

Christine Milne in conversation with Margaret Throsoy

Anxiety: is it just me? with Mat Haig and Sarah Wilson

One of the many sculptures dotted throughout the festival site 

Lunch time at the Byron Writers Festival

Frontier Wars discussion with Tom Keneally

Oliver Phommavanh during the Kids Big Day Out

Enjoying the winter sun

Learning from the resident poet

Captivated audiences

#byronwf2018 - see you next year!

 

Splendour in the Grass 2018 Re-Cap

Splendour in the Grass 2018 (20 – 22 July) is done and dusted, and what a fantastic festival it was. All 35,000 festival-goers were treated to perfect weather – clear, warm days and cool nights – and a jam-packed line-up of local, national, and international artists.

The site itself looked more colourful and dynamic than ever, complete with new flags, performers, art installations, and punters dressed-up and decked-out in true Splendour form. 

Alongside the music, we enjoyed the science tent, forum discussions, the comedy tent, the craft tent, and the family-friendly Little Splendour. There truly was something for everyone. Our favourites were Henry Rollins in discussion in the forum and Aunty Donna’s comedy set.

As always, there was plenty of food to indulge in-between sets.

Finally, our musical highlights. 

Photo: Stills in Time

Photo: Jess Gleeson

On Friday, we caught Murray from The Wiggles with DZ Deathrays, who played a few songs including an AC/DC cover. Lorde was the headliner, and she put on a great show.

Photo: Stills in Time

Saturday highlights include Franz Ferdinand, an old favourite, and Lil Xan.

Photo: Jess Gleeson

On Sunday, we watched Ball Park Music in the GW McLennan tent. We’d only seen them in the amphitheatre previously, and it was great to catch them up close on the smaller stage. And headliner Kendrick put on a killer performance – the crowd loved it.

Photo: Ian laidlaw

We can’t wait to see what next year has in stall. Thanks, Splendour in the Grass!

Splendour in the Grass 2018 lineup announcement

Splendour in the Grass 2018 (Fri 20, Sat 21 & Sun 22 July) is just around the corner. Drawing some of the biggest names in music to the North Byron Parklands, Splendour is one of the most popular festivals in the country.

Each year, festival-goers are spoilt for choice, with local talent and international superstars performing right here in the Byron Shire. From the smaller, more intimate tents, to the spectacular amphitheatre, Splendour sets the stage for some truly memorable acts.

In addition to the world-class music, Splendour gives artists a chance to showcase their work in colourful, often interactive works throughout the festival site. Lights, sculptures, and paintings bring the festival site to life.

Alongside the incredible arts and music, Splendour hosts a range of market stalls, circus performers, and exotic food vendors.

The 2018 line-up has dropped, and this year’s festival is set to be bigger than ever:

KENDRICK LAMAR • LORDE (ONLY AUS SHOW) • VAMPIRE WEEKEND (ONLY AUS SHOW) • KHALID (ONLY AUS SHOW) • THE WOMBATS • HILLTOP HOODS • CHVRCHES • MIGUEL • GIRL TALK (ONLY AUS SHOW) • ANGUS & JULIA STONE • GANG OF YOUTHS • FRANZ FERDINAND • MGMT • BEN HOWARD • DUNE RATS & FRIENDS • BEN HARPER & CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE • PNAU • JAMES BAY • THE AVALANCHES DJ SET • CHROMEO • DMA’S • BALL PARK MUSIC • HENRY ROLLINS (ONLY AUS SHOW) • SAFIA • THE JUNGLE GIANTS • LIL XAN • METHYL ETHEL • AMY SHARK • THE BRONX • OCEAN ALLEY • CARMADA BY L D R U & YAHTZEL • DZ DEATHRAYS • LORD HURON • MIDDLE KIDS • HOCKEY DAD • TOWKIO •CUB SPORT • TOUCH SENSITIVE • SAMPA THE GREAT • DEAN LEWIS • SKEGSS • ALBERT HAMMOND JR • MALLRAT • MARMOZETS • ALEX LAHEY • RITON & KAH-LO • JACK RIVER • SUPERORGANISM • ANNA LUNOE • LEWIS CAPALDI • ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS • ALEX THE ASTRONAUT • YUNGBLUD • CROOKED COLOURS • NINA LAS VEGAS • SOCCER MOMMY (ONLY AUS SHOW) • ELDERBROOK • ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER • TIM SWEENEY • STELLA DONNELLY • BULLY • BAKER BOY • WAFIA • NO MONO • WAAX • ANGIE MCMAHON • WEST THEBARTON • EVES KARYDAS • G FLIP • THE BABE RAINBOW • HAIKU HANDS • DIDIRRI • ALICE IVY • AMYL & THE SNIFFERS • ZIGGY RAMO • FANTASTIC MAN • LO’99 • HUMAN MOVEMENT • MANU CROOK$ • KASBO • MADAM X • ANDRAS ALTA • ARA KOUFAX • TWO PEOPLE • B WISE • MADE IN PARIS • JENSEN INTERCEPTOR • WOODES • TEISCHA • ANTONY & CLEOPATRA • MUTO • ELK ROAD • TRIPLE J UNEARTHED WINNERS

PLUS MIKE GURRIERI • LOVE DELUXE • LAUREN HANSOM • POOLCLVB • GODLANDS • NYXEN • EMMA STEVENSON • EBONY BOADU

Tickets are on sale Thursday, April 19, 9.00am sharp AEST moshtix.com.au or phone 1300 GET TIX (438 849).

Learn more at splendourinthegrass.com

The Byron Bay International Fashion Festival 2018

On 29 April, 2018, the five-star Elements of Byron Resort will play host to the 4th annual Byron Bay International Fashion Festival, an event that celebrates the thriving Byron fashion scene. Attendees will be treated to an afternoon and evening of forward-thinking fashion, music, and performance.  

The Byron Bay International Fashion Festival will bring together talented designers from around the world. Showcasing both local talent, emerging brands, and global successes, the festival’s runway shows will cover swimwear, activewear, resort and casual wear, eveningwear, and lingerie.

In 2018, more than 20 designers will present collections at this boutique event, including Lahana Swim, Vale, Love Revolution, Helan Grant, Jenny Jazz, Niki Teljega, Styelle Bikinis, SASHED, Wild Barra, Miau Swimwear, and more.

Clothing will be brought to life by some of the country’s leading runway models. With a backdrop of edgy techno tracks and choreographed lighting, the catwalk shows become an artistic fashion spectacle.

Between runway shows, attendees can catch over 30 of latest award-winning fashion short films created by acclaimed directors and producers. The extensive film program adds depth to the festival, giving guests an insight into the fashion world.

A series of cutting-edge dance performances will complement the runway features and film program. Combining body art, fashion, design, and dance, these unique performances were commissioned by the Fashion Festival, giving designers the opportunity to collaborate with traditional dance companies.

Finally, an exciting all-female lineup of model DJs will set the scene and kick-start the party. Enjoy a fresh mix of contemporary tunes in the courtyard area and Festival bar from the early afternoon until the “Rock the Runway cocktail party finishes at midnight. 

The Byron Bay International Fashion Festival is an opportunity for industry leaders, emerging designers, established brands, influencers, bloggers, buyers, and fashion enthusiasts to network, discover new trends, and make their mark on the booming Byron fashion scene.

Learn more and buy tickets at bbiff.com.au

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2018 Re-Cap

The Byron Bay Bluesfest 2018 (29 March to 2 April) has come to an end, and what a festival it was. Despite a little wet weather over the long weekend, the world-class musical talent and showmanship, friendly crowds, and colourful festival vibes surpassed expectations.

In true Bluesfest tradition, the festival kicked-off on Thursday with a downpour. Although the mud didn’t dampen the festival spirit, we were all grateful to see blue skies and spectacular sunsets on Sunday and Monday.

This year’s line-up was packed full of incredible artists. Our favourite was Eric Gales, the virtuoso guitarist, who we saw for all three performances last year and all three performances this year. Watching such a master musician play up-close was mind-blowing.

Some performances were truly heart-wrenching. Blues musician Walter Trout – accompanied by his son on guitar – paid tribute to the stranger who saved his life by donating their liver. The crowd went wild as the set ended, and Walter broke down in tears.

Darren Hart of Harts played a killer set before hinting at his retirement and smashing his beloved guitar.

Other highlights included Canned Heat, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Gomez.

We also ran into Michael Franti walking among the crowd, singing, and taking selfies with his fans.

As always, the food at Bluesfest was an experience in itself. The coffee tent was a great place for a much-needed rest, and the Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts – the longer the line, the better the doughnut tastes – did not disappoint.

Finally, the vibrant market stalls, kids’ activities, circus performers, dancers, and polite and considerate crowds made the festival a real pleasure to attend. We cannot wait to see what Bluesfest has in store next year for its 30th anniversary.

Looking back at the 2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival

Despite some less-than-perfect weather, the 2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival (February 22 – 25, 2018) was a huge success. Over the four days, Byron Bay played host to a number of inspiring surf, art, film, and music events, each celebrating the inclusive spirit of surf culture.

Image by Elliot Kirkwood

The Byron Bay Surf Festival is unique among other surf events across the country. “BBSF has a non-competitive approach to surf events,” said the festival’s Creative Director, James McMillan. “We have a focus on culture, art and environment.”

Without the pressure of competition, surfers are free to express themselves in the water. This year, the beloved Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions and the new FreeRadical Surf Experiments invited surfers of all levels to have a bit of fun.

Image by Kane Skennar

“I was high as a kite after the Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions on Sunday,” said McMillan. “It was a really amazing day with so many stoked and smiling people, both surfers, non-surfers, families, kids and the oldest surfer in Byron Dr Bob even dropped by. The surf sessions on Sunday are about fun [which] creates a totally different and inclusive vibe to all who participate.”

Image by Alex T Roberts

The celebration of surf culture continued out of the water. The always-popular Surf Art Market drew a crowd on Saturday, despite the rainy weather. A curated collection of ethical and environmental vendors put their unique wares on display, drawing attention to the importance of sustainability in surfing. “Giving these companies an opportunity to show and sell their products educates and brings focused awareness to the public,” said McMillan.

In addition, festival-goers were treated to an incredible surf art exhibition at the Lone Goat Gallery, live music at the iconic Beach Hotel, and the crowd-favourite Sunset Cinema, which began with a traditional Welcome to Country by the local Arakwal People.

Image by Raffaella Creative

“Many surfers are creative, surfing is a very creative expression,” said McMillan, commenting on the many imaginative manifestations of surf culture on display at the 2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival.

“Every time a wave comes in you never know exactly how it is going to play out. You paddle, jump to your feet and start co-creating with Mother Nature as you weave your way along the swell... It all feels amazing. The feelings and emotions from surfing stir a certain thing inside many surfers and this sparks creativity in many different ways.”

With its beautiful beaches, creative spirit, and laid-back attitude, Byron Bay was – once again – the perfect backdrop to one of the most progressive surf events in the country. “[The area] is open and accepting of alternate thinking, arts, and activities,” commented McMillan. “The Byron Bay Surf Festival easily fits in and sends people home smiling.”

We look forward to seeing what the Byron Bay Surf Festival serves up next year.

Learn more at www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au

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