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Re-Cap: Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016/17

Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016/17 did not disappoint. Held over three days (31st December – 2nd January) at the North Byron Parklands, the festival was packed with great music, delicious food, market stalls, plenty of sun, a bit of rain, and much more.

The impressive Amphitheatre stage filled up each day with enthusiastic crowds dancing and singing the night away alongside this year’s killer lineup. On New Year's Eve, everyone dressed to impress for the Falls Festival Gold theme, transforming the full Amphitheatre into a dress-up party.

On days two and three, the Forest Stage featured some excellent acts from around the globe, including Parquet Courts, a rock band from New York City – they were my festival highlight.

There was also some incredible Byron Bay talent to enjoy in The Grove, including DELI, a local group that improvises every song.

In addition to the music, Falls served up some extra fun, including the Palm Springs pools, Market Stalls and the Ferris wheel. Of course, there was also a ton of exciting food options.

The heat was intense (around 34 degrees each day), and on the final afternoon a storm rolled in and there was a bit of rain. This didn’t stop the fun, and I am sure everyone’s excited to come back again next time.

Byron Markets over the New Year period

The New Year period is a busy time for markets in Byron Bay, with the Artisan Markets on Saturday, the Community Market on MONDAY (usually on a Sunday) and the special Beachside Markets on Wednesday.

Byron Artisan Market

When: Saturday, December 31, 2016, 4pm – 9pm

Where: Railway Park, Jonson Street, Byron Bay

Held every Saturday evening October through to Easter, the popular Byron Artisan Market provides local creatives with the opportunity to showcase their talent. This year, the evening market falls on New Years Eve.

The stalls feature a range of artisan goods, including clothing, jewellery, and leather accessories. Plus, food and beverage stalls offer market-goers an afternoon snack or exotic dinner to be enjoyed alongside entertainment from local musicians. It’s the perfect way to kick off your NYE celebrations.

Byron Bay Markets

When: Monday, January 2, 2017, 8am – 3pm

Where: Butler St Reserve, Byron Bay

The beloved Byron Bay Markets, usually held on the first Sunday of each month, will instead take place on Monday, January 2, 2017.

You could spend hours exploring the many stalls at the renowned Byron Bay Markets. With everything ranging from handmade jewellery and kids toys, to antiques, fashion, fresh produce, and more, there’s something for absolutely everyone.

Come early, stay for lunch, relax in the shade, and soak up the laid-back Byron atmosphere.

Byron Beachside Markets

When: Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 8am – 4pm

Where: Main Beach Foreshore (east of the Surf Club), Byron Bay

The Byron Beachside Markets are held four times each year, and the next market is just around the corner.

This market is a diverse showcase of some of the best quality handmade arts, sculptures, and home goods, as well as unique fashion, crafts, toys and more. Taking a stroll along the foreshore of stunning Main Beach, while exploring one-of-a-kind market stalls makes for the perfect morning in Byron Bay.

New Years Eve Byron Style

Soul Street NYE

Between 4pm and 10pm on December 31, Jonson Street (main street Byron Bay) will transform into a street party celebration. Market stalls and food stall will line the street. The kids will be entertained by a variety of buskers, amusement rides, circus performers, drummers, face painters, fire twirlers, and more. Plus, local bands will play in Railway Park through the duration of the event. Find out more at www.byroncentre.com.au.

NOTE Jonson Street will be closed to cars from 12pm on December 31 until 8am on January 1, 2017.

The Railway Friendly Bar

Farewell 2016 at the Railway Friendly Bar – known as ‘the Rails’ – with live music playing from 8pm until the New Year. First up is the Bohemian Cowboy, and then at 10.30pm, Marshal will take the stage. Tickets are $20. Find out more at www.therailsbyronbay.com.

Harvest Newrybar

Welcome the New Year in style at the Havest Newrybar black and white party. With shuttle bus services running from Suffolk Park and Byron Bay, a selection of canapes, drinks, and dance music from DJ Beaver on offer, the NYE party at Harvest is sure to be a night to remember. The event runs from 7.30pm to late, and tickets cost $220 including drinks. Email events@harvestnewrybar.com.au or call 02 6687 2644 to make a reservation. Find out more at www.harvestnewrybar.com.au.

The Beach Hotel

Celebrate New Years Eve at the Paradise Found NYE party at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel. The party will feature food stalls, cocktail bars, body painting, DJs, live acts and more. The fancy dress theme is paradise. Ticks are $90 ($50 for locals) and are available from Oztix, or at the Beach Hotel bottle shop. Find out more at www.beachhotel.com.au.

The Northern

There’s a ton of music on at the Northern Hotel this New Years Eve. Running from 8pm to 3am, music acts include Tropical Zombie, the Ruminaters, Chase City, Ivy, and DJ Chris Bradley. Tickets are $20. Find out more at www.thenorthern.com.au.

Hotel Brunswick

The Preatures are taking over Hotel Brunswick this New Years Eve. After celebrating their successful record ‘Blue Planet Eyes’ on tour around Australia, the Preatures will soon return to the studio. Catch them while you can. The night begins at 6pm, and tickets are $50 from Oztix. Find out more at www.hotelbrunswick.com.au.

Byron at Byron

This New Years Eve, the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa presents the Well Swung Daddies. Sit back and enjoy a three-course meal, entertainment, and a glass sparkling wine on arrival for $198 per person. Email reservations@thebyronatbyron.com.au or call 02 6639 2105 to make a reservation. Find out more at www.thebyronatbyron.com.au.

The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co.

Groove into the New Year at the Balcony’s New Years Even event. A la carte bookings are available between 5pm and 7pm, and the NYE party runs from 8am into the early hours on the morning. Find out more at www.balcony.com.au.

The Sticky Wicket

NYE celebrations kick off at 12pm at the Sticky Wicket bar with a ticketed UFC event. Tickets are $10. DJs will then play from 9pm until 3am upstairs. Find out more at www.facebook.com/TheStickyWicketBar/.

The Bolt Hole

Watch the very last sunset of 2016 over the stunning Byron Hinterland at the Bolt Hole. With plenty of cocktails and food, the party won’t stop until 2am. Standard tickets are $45, and include roaming food, and drinks on arrival. Or go VIP for $65 for the best seats in the house and a champagne cocktail on arrival. Find out more at www.thebolthole.com.au.

Byron Bay New Years Eve 2016

Celebrate New Years Eve 2016 in Byron Bay at the annual, family-friendly Soul Street event.

Between 4pm and 10pm on December 31, Jonson Street will transform into a street party celebration. Market stalls and food stall will line the street. The kids will be entertained by a variety of buskers, amusement rides, circus performers, drummers, face painters, fire twirlers, and more. Plus, local bands will play in Railway Park through the duration of the event.

Soul Street is alcohol free, and designed with families in mind. To ensure the safety of all, Jonson Street will be closed to cars from 12pm on December 31 until 8am on January 1, 2017.

Visitors can park free in the Butler Street Reserve, which is a short stroll from Jonson Street. Alternatively, the Falls Festival Shuttle bus will be open to the general public. The buses run along Ewingsdale Road and between Suffolk Park and the centre of Byron Bay for a fee of $5.

For further detail, visit Byron Shire Council's website.

2017 Byron Spirit Festival

The 2017 Byron Spirit Festival, Custodians of Culture. 31 Mar - 2 Apr 2017. Mullumbimby.

The Byron Spirit Festival celebrates the unique character of the Byron Shire, featuring workshops and panels on yoga, music, culture, dance, healing and world music. Participants attend their choice of workshops during the day and then gather together for evening concerts featuring world music from local, national and international performers and dancers.

The event is based in the town of Mullumbimby, 15 minutes from Byron Bay. The Byron Spirit Festival provides workshops and entertainment for the whole family and incorporates existing venues in the town, such as the civic centre, community gardens, local halls and churches.

The event inspires well being and has been called the best festival of its kind in Australia as it seeks to create a strong sense of community and healthy lifestyle. With a celebration of various cultural practices and traditions, the festival is an example of cultural harmony and celebrates spiritual and racial diversity as a key to building healthy communities.

For further information, visit spiritfestival.com.au

Byron’s Biggest Buzz this Summer!

Circus Arts PARK&FLY, Byron Bay foreshore 18 Nov 2016 - 12 Feb 2017

The biggest buzz to ever hit Byron Bay is coming this summer! Circus Arts Australia, Byron’s very own flying trapeze experts, are bringing their knee shaking, adrenalin pumping, super fun, 10m high flying trapeze to Denning Park and everyone is invited.

Circus Arts PARK&FLY is a flying trapeze and community arts event set to transform the Byron Bay foreshore for 60 days between November 18 and February 12, 2017. Circus Arts PARK & FLY will offer a mix of flying trapeze classes, flying trapeze shows, entertainment, fun and games all summer long.

Take in the iconic landscape of beautiful Byron Bay as you soar 10m high through the air on the flying trapeze. 1.5-hour classes are on offer for those who want to learn all the basics in one class and never before offered single swings are available for the once off thrill seekers in town. Weekends will see free flying trapeze shows at dusk, buskers and roving entertainment activating the space. Comfy seating, games and circus equipment will complete this family friendly park space.

“Byron has some fantastic spaces that are underutilised and Denning Park is one of them. We are really grateful for this Council initiative which has given us a platform to create an event for our community which is focused on health, wellbeing and the arts. We have partnered with some fantastic local businesses to create an experience that is great value for the community and truly reflective of Byron’s unique culture” says Kate Priddle, Circus Arts PARK&FLY Project Manager.

Circus Arts Park and Fly is an initiative of the Byron Shire Council’s Placemaking Seed Fund and a catalyst event for the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan. This is a space created by the Byron community for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Sit, stay, watch, laugh, fly and enjoy Circus Arts PARK & FLY this summer only!

LIKE the Circus Arts Facebook page to stay up to date to PARK & FLY or visit www.circusarts.com.au/parkandfly for all the details.

11th Annual Byron Latin Fiesta

The 11th Annual Byron Latin Fiesta (4-6 November 2016) is set to ignite Byron Bay with the passion and energy of Latin music and dance once more this November! After a successful relocation to the Byron Community Centre and feeder venues to celebrate the 10th Anniversary in 2015, the event is happy to say it will continue to be held in its home, the heart of Byron Bay.

The 2016 event, to be held 4th – 6th November, is excited to announce International Kizomba Artist Anais Million (France) and Bachata Artist Edwin Ferreras (New York), both coming to the event for the first time, together with an impressive line-up of national and local dance instructors and performers. Live bands feature Chukale, Australia leading Afro-Cuban Salsa Ensemble and the fresh new sounds of Bombolaye, an industry favourite.

Run over 4 nights and 2 days the event includes more than 40 dance workshops plus parties with performances, live bands, and Latin DJs. There is something for everyone. Beginners and experienced dancers are all invited to learn from the vast array of talent on offer while party guests are encouraged to watch, listen and enjoy! You may even decide that you always wanted to learn to dance!

Don’t miss out on one of Australia’s longest running and most popular Latin dance events. Tickets are selling fast.

Tickets and further information at www.byronlatinfiesta.com.au.

Melbourne Cup 2016

Celebrate the Melbourne Cup 2016 here in Byron Bay and surrounds on Tuesday November 1st. Local restaurants & venues are putting on a range of special events this year.


Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

Melbourne Cup is just around the corner and this year we have something for every pony. With multiple screens, sweepstakes and best dressed prizes you'd be silly not to get involved. $49 - $65 per person


Beach Byron Bay

Mingle on the deck and soak up the sunshine this Melbourne Cup at Beach.

Sip on a cocktail or champagne upon arrival and enjoy canapes on the exclusive beachfront deck, with entertainment from Haz and Matty Bone Trio. Race day sponsor Frank and Joy will be styling the space with their must-have designer pieces. Cheer on the race with prizes for best dressed and charity sweeps for 'Our Kids'. Tickets $95 per person.


The Byron Bay Bowling Club

Club Byron is putting a day-long celebration for the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Showcase your raceday fashion on the green, with prizes for the best-dressed, and the best fascinator. Rob Rhodes & Reloader will be performing live.


The Byron Bay Services Club

Enjoy the Melbourne Cup at the Pandanus Room Raceday Luncheon. Full tab facilities will run from 8am, with all the action up on the big screen. Book now, as tickets always sell out.


Elements of Byron

Elements will host a Melbourne Cup Luncheon, running from 12pm – 4pm. Tickets are $90, and include a 3-course meal, and bubbles on arrival. The races and sweepstakes will be shown on big screens throughout the venue. Drinks will be served all afternoon.


Harvest Newrybar

Sparkling wine upon arrival & 4 course lunch. Whisky by Dan Woolley, fashion parade & live music, give aways for best dressed, live music by Luke & Sebastian, fashion parade by Driftlab. Place your bets before you arrive & enjoy the race on our large projector screen. 12.30pm start, $85 per person.


Hotel Brunswick

Relax in the beer garden at Hotel Brunswick, with the races live on the beer garden big screens. Entertainment will start at 12pm, and will include trivia, and prizes for ‘fashion on the field’. The kitchen will be putting on food and beverage specials, too. Entry is free.

10th Byron Bay International Film Festival

Spring is synonymous with festivity and with a 10th anniversary to celebrate as well as new dates the 2016 Byron Bay International Film Festival will see NSW's Northern Rivers abuzz with this world-class event from the 14th to the 23rd October.

BBFF is considered by many to be one of Australia’s most dynamic film festivals and is renowned for its diverse and entertaining program of compelling and thought-provoking films as well as its glamorous red carpet parties. The Festival's 10th Opening Night will be the most dazzling to date - a glittering night at the Byron Theatre where the stars won't just be in the sky.

As it's grown over the past decade the festival has become a valuable platform for local and international filmmakers - bringing together passionate and aware audiences with emerging and esteemed industry professionals, connecting the film-loving and filmmaking communities together through conversation and collaboration within a wide array of screening sessions, Q&A's, panels and gala events.

The program is packed with variety and satisfies all tastes - over 10 days BBFF screens everything from films for or made by kids to surf and action, animation, emotionally charged documentaries and outstanding dramatic features from around the world. Providing audiences with cutting-edge storytelling experiences has always been at the heart of the BBFF experience and this year the festival is giving audience members the opportunity to dive into new dimensions with a selection of the world's best Virtual Reality experiences.

The Festival's full program will be announced in September, for more details visit www.bbff.com.au.

The Byron Writers Festival

Byron Writers Festival marked its 20th year with its strongest and best received program yet, breaking box office records and presenting a festival full of history making moments like Stan Grant’s Thea Astley Lecture that people will continue to talk about for years to come.


Blue skies broke for our 'True Believers' Leigh Sales, Kerry O'Brien and Sarah Ferguson on Festival Friday Pic: Evan Malcolm

After severe storm damage on the Wednesday night, it took a gargantuan effort to open the gates on Friday morning. I would like to thank the Festival team, the volunteers, our partners and everyone in the community who all went above and beyond to make it happen. Also to our wonderful patrons who remained good-humoured and enthusiastic despite the weather.

How heartbreaking it would have been if we hadn’t been able to listen to the beautiful Festival conversations that moved us so profoundly. Our storytellers are our most important teachers and I would like to thank all the writers and people who chaired each session for leading us on incredible journeys over the three days. It is my sincerest hope that all of us who witnessed those stories carry them out into our communities so that the conversations continue to live on.

Edwina Johnson, Director

The Byron Writers Festival hosts a number of out-of-season events and workshops throughout the year. Learn more at their website www.byronwritersfestival.com.

Here's some more images from the 2016 Byron Bay Writers Festival.


Stan Grant's moving Thea Astley lecture captivated us all Pic: Evan Malcolm


Mandy Nolan, Magda Szubanski, Rosie Waterland and Richard Glover (not pictured) had us all in stitches. Pic: Evan Malcolm


The 2016 Byron Writers Festival captured the minds and imaginations of every generation. Pic: Kate Holmes

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