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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

BIG SCRUB IS BACK! - LIMITED RELEASE -

New Age Lager reminds us to preserve the beauty of our backyard... 

Set to quench thirsts as the weather heats up, Big Scrub - Stone & Wood's refreshing new age lager is back. Only brewed from time to time, Big Scrub will be going on tap and hitting shelves across the country mid October.

Protect your local rainforest! With only 1% left of the largest sub-tropical rainforest on the East coast, the remnants of Big Scrub serve as a reminder to preserve the natural beauty of our backyard, and are the inspiration for our Beers from our Backyard limited release.

Our Big Scrub is a new age lager. It’s different to traditional lagers by being dry hopped, using new world hops and it’s left unfiltered. It pours golden with a slight haze from extended cold maturation (5 weeks), with a luscious, creamy head. Big Scrub balances floral aromatics, spicy herbal notes and hints of citrus from the dry hopping. It has a dry, firm bitterness that makes for a moreish finish.

We are lucky to live in one of the greatest places on Earth, with an incredible hinterland that needs to be protected and appreciated. Big Scrub is our local rainforest, that once covered 75,000ha prior to European settlement. It was the largest area of subtropical rainforest on the East Coast of Australia, and is an important part of Australia’s rich biodiversity heritage.

For us, we are conscious of treading lightly on earth and are inspired by the incredible regeneration and restoration work of our local community, work that has helped save our local rainforest. Leading the charge is Big Scrub Landcare, a not-for-profit we continue to support, working together to raise awareness and actively preserve our hinterland.

Learn more about Stone & Wood + purchase online, visit www.stoneandwood.com.au.

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
 

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink

Cunning Stunts presents the monthly Nudge Nudge Wink Wink sundown event. Family friendly with activities for kids, it's held on the first Sunday of the month at The Billinudgel Hotel. 

The party with a conscience is now a TICKETED monthly event running from September - June that brings the community together in an all inclusive way, whilst raising much needed funding for beloved and deserving local charities that help improve the lives of Northern NSW residents.

Food trucks, an outside bar and amazing raffle prizes all contribute to this special family friendly event the first Sunday of the month has become.

Bringing their together collective artistic skills, knowledge and community spirit to create awareness and generate funds for incredible local charities that tirelessly devote themselves to supporting and helping Northern NSW residents achieve a better quality of life.

The core team - Darren & Sarah Sutton, Laura Peck & Dale Stephen tirelessly devote themselves to putting our fundraising events on every month as a charitable endeavor, assisted by our sponsors, supporting businesses and the nudgers - our amazing event patrons.

The season features an assortment of highly experienced, diverse and amazing local DJ’s playing deep and blissed-out Balearic beats, delicious dubs, left field excursions, oddball disco and killer obscurities are world class.

Raising over $54,000 thus far for local charities across 17 events, Cunning Stunts Nudge Nudge Wink Wink eclectic events continue to set the bar.

Fundraising at their events is raised through ticket sales, vendor and attendees’ donations, merchandise sales and the selling of raffle tickets. 100% of profits donated to local well deserving charities.

For further information on Cunning Stunts:
Website: www.cunningstunts.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cunningstuntevents

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!

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

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