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Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015


G. Love & Special Sauce on stage with Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter & Jake Shimabukuro

Always a pleasure - 26 years experience meant a few last minute cancelations and some wet weather didn't dampen the fun of Bluesfest 2015. Plenty of great music, any food you can imagine, interesting market stalls and a couple coffee tents with seating.


British India had no trouble standing in


Melbourne Ska Orchestra enjoying themselves

But, my favourite part of Bluesfest is being blown away by an act. To this day I remember my first Bluesfest back in 1992 (their 3rd I think) and catching Dave Hole's performance - in 2015, my pick is Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones (yes, I saw them twice).


Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones

If you were there, I trust you had a blast, if not - there's always next year, see you at 2016 Bluesfest Byron Bay.


See you all in 2016!

Facebook February 2015

The Byron region is surrounded by natural beauty and has plenty of things going on all the time... which allows all the great local photographers to capture amazing new images daily. We post to our Facebook page about 100 times each month, often sharing the best images we can find. On our page you will notice we give the regions photographers full credit by using the ‘Share Button’ and encourage all our fans to click through and follow the photographers directly.

Here's a sample of images posted / shared to our page in February 2015. If you like these, click through and join us on Facebook : www.facebook.com/byron.bay.nsw.


Image credit Dexter Jou


Image credit Soozi Futcher


Image credit Kurt Petersen

Music Festivals: Bluesfest, Splendour, Falls Festival

Soak up all the music goodness Byron Bay has to offer and take advantage of the great local and international acts performing in Byron Bay during 2015. Home to some of the country’s best campgrounds and most celebrated coastal backdrops, Byron Bay is home to a handful of the nation’s most iconic music festivals, encompassing a range of different genres.

The 26th Byron Bay Bluesfest Festival runs from April 2 until April 6 at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, 9 kilometres north of Byron Bay. At the long weekend celebration of Australia’s premier blues and roots festival you’ll find six stages with more than 200 performances of the best blues, roots, folk and soul artists from around the globe. The 11 hectare Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm houses an on-site camping ground where you’ll be able to set up your own tent or tepee for a weekend of musical adventure.

One of Australia’s most loved music festivals, Splendour in the Grass hits the beautiful shores of the North Byron Parklands on July 24 until July 26. The weekend celebrates a lineup of mixed contemporary and indie rock as well as a number of other performing arts and workshops. Stay for the duration of the festival and camp on site with a tent or book early and stay in local accommodation. Watch the sunset from one of the nation’s most beautiful coastal towns while listening to the sounds of some of the best local and international live musicians.

The Falls Music & Arts Festival, held on the grounds of North Byron Parklands since 2013, is the latest incarnation of one of the longest running boutique music events in Australia. Held at the same time as sister events in Tasmania and Victoria, the festival hosts a stellar lineup of local and international acts. Spanning from the last days of December and into the New Year, the festival offers a musical New Years experience complete with onsite camping, live comedy and a number of community run events such puppetry and burlesque. Make the most of your time at the festival and get involved in eclectic outdoor activities ranging from morning yoga to samba classes and circus workshops.

Byron Bay Ballooning

Pre-flight

Ballooning requires cool stable winds an early morning pickup is arranged for 5:25am sharp. The bonus of this early hour is we will see the sunrise. Our driver lets us know that it is going to be a 10 minute drive to Tyagarah air field where we will meet the rest of our group, receive our instructions and then drive to the morning's takeoff location. Takeoff can be from a number of locations dependent on the day’s winds.

Thomas, our pilot, welcomes the group and gives us a full safety brief including our landing instructions. It seems everyone is marking a celebration with a ballooning experience; a married couple’s wedding anniversary present, a 60th birthday and son, another couple celebrating a birthday, twins who were gifted the flight for a 'significant' birthday, a solo Japanese female traveller and myself. We drive to a field close to Billinudgel, a small town around 20 minutes north of Byron, and the twins enthusiastically offer to help with inflating the balloon. The mild morning with clear blue skies has everyone talking excitedly.

In flight

An older man required help into the basket and the professional crew assisted graciously and with a minimum of fuss. All aboard and with a signal from Thomas and a blast from the burner, we are gently climbing up and over the tree tops. I can hear gasps of delight from other passengers as we continue drifting and surveying the picturesque landscape. At times we climbed up to 2000 feet giving a vast panoramic view of the ancient volcanic Caldera Range and Mt Warning (Wollumbin) in the distance passing high above the rolling hills, cane fields, rivers and waterways.

Drifting along in a balloon is an incredibly serene experience with an occasional blast from the burners to maintain height. The ride is much smoother than I'd imagined and it is quite surreal floating high in the open air looking down. Sailing through different scenery, we are all constantly in awe as everything has such a different perspective, and moving at approximately 30 km per hour the vista is constantly changing. Another surprise is we don’t feel any wind because we are moving with the wind! Time seems to literally fly and after almost an hour, we are heading for our landing.

Post-flight

Dutifully following our safety instructions, we land seamlessly in a paddock near Tyagarah airfield. I ask Thomas if he has an arrangement with local landowners and his response is 'this is a bottle of French champagne in the letterbox landing'. We help to deflate the balloon and pack it up. As we drive away, one of the twins points out that Thomas wasn’t joking about leaving champagne in the letterbox.

Back at the airfield, over a sumptuous champagne breakfast, it’s a collective warm and glowing debrief. The twins agree that they need to thank their friend who bought their flight, 'an experience is such a great gift' she adds. I can only agree. The finale is the presentation of our certificates. We all go home with a spring in our step feeling pleased with our day’s experience and I am wondering to whom I might gift a balloon flight.

For more information or to book an experience of a life time call 1300 889 660, email info@byronbayballooning.com.au or go to www.byronbayballooning.com.au

Byron Bay Film Festival

The 2015 Byron Bay International Film Festival 6-15 March

The largest film festival in Australia, is a 10-day festival held annually in March. With over 220 cutting-edge films from over 35 countries, the festival celebrates and supports independent film talent from the local community and abroad.



Festival Director, J’aimee Skippon-Volke said, “Today, we’re living in a download culture. This year we're asking film lovers to 'ditch the downloads' and celebrate the unique experience a collective, shared viewing experience creates. 'Magic Happens in the Dark' is a call to leave the comfort of the couch and dive deep into all that the festival has to offer.

Located in the stunning beachside town of Byron Bay and surrounding centres of Ballina, Lismore, and Muwillumbah, the festival showcases innovative and thought-provoking films.

Screened in five venues, the selected documentaries, short films, feature films, and animations aim to entertain, educate and encourage social dialogue. International filmmakers, local up-and-comers and film lovers leave the festival with an enriched worldview and a raised cultural and environmental awareness.

As well as the 50+ sessions, the Byron Bay International Film Festival hosts events, parties, panels, workshops master classes, and school screenings. Tickets and program available on the Byron Bay Filmfest website.

In recent years, musicians Jack Johnson and Kirk Pengilly, comedian Akmal Saleh, actors Jack Thompson and Vince Colossimo and surfer Laybe Beachley have attended.

The sell-out gala opening and closing events are some of Byron’s most glamorous nights of the year. Hundreds of industry legends, locals and film lovers strut down the red carpet.



The iconic Full Moon Beachside Screening, set on the grass above Byron’s stunning Main Beach, that in previous year’s has attracted thousands of picnickers for a night of free live music and cinema under the stars has been rescheduled for later in 2015 due to weather concerns.

Byron Bay Film Festival is AACTA Awards accredited. Each year, the festival awards standout films in categories such as feature, documentary, music video, and animation. The festival also celebrates up-and-coming local talent with the Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year Award, judged by film critic Peter Thompson.

2015 Byron Bay Film Festival program and tickets available from 23rd February at www.bbff.com.au.

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens - a Faraway Magical Place in Byron’s Hinterland

Ranked Mullumbimby’s #1 tourist attraction on TripAdvisor, Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens offers a cornucopia of delightful, feelgood experiences. Owners and founders, Naren and Sono King are committed to providing an ethical, sustainable tourism attraction and that commitment is evident in every detail of this unique attraction including their staff.

Set 7km, out of Mullumbimby, these private botanical gardens are filled with extraordinary crystals, sub-tropical plant life and wait for it…. Australia’s first Tibetan Buddhist Kalachakra World Peace Stupa!



What’s New? – An intriguing new daily program offering

Shambhala Gardens Tour (45mins) - a fascinating guided tour of the gardens detailing the incredible journey of the owners. Like everyone who works here, our guide was passionate, informative and entertaining. She lead us on a few guided meditations at different sacred statues. Other highlights include the beautiful koi pond and the Peace Fountain.

Crystal Experience (45 mins) – a brief history of Crystal Castle and of the healing powers of crystals. We learnt how to choose crystals for ourselves and others and why and how to use them for healing.

Music of the Plants (30 mins) – another guided meditation in this beautiful setting that put us in the moment and in the perfect mind frame to enhance the experience. Referencing The Secret Life of Plants and research cnducted by the Damanhur Federation in Italy, our guide used a device that converts a plant’s individual vibration into music. The audience was captivated and the music entrancing. Just prior to this I had the privilege of listening to Squalo Canapa from Damanhur, I am curious and inspired to learn more.

Peace Experience (50 mins) – one of only seven World Peace Stupas and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a visualisation meditation and sacred walk around The Peace Stupa and another unique bliss-inducing experience.



All these experiences are free with the entry charge. There is a range of price structures for entry; family, locals, annual passes.

Plan ahead to get the most from your visit.

  • Check website for times of daily experiences as they may change depending on the season www.crystalcastle.com.au
  • Take sunscreen, hat and water
  • Allow at least three hours for your visit
  • You won’t be disappointed by this unique experience and it is obvious why it has such wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor. As my Buddhist cousin would conclude.
    Peace.

2014 Sample Food Festival

2014 Sample Food Festival will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm Saturday 13 September 2014, at the Bangalow Showground. Featuring food from local restaurants, local produce and farmers market stalls, plus entertainment, cooking demonstrations and children’s activities. Entry is free.

The fourth annual Sample Food Festival is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. The one-day event, held at Bangalow Showground, attracts over 10,000 visitors from all over the country. It is the premier food event in Northern with are over 200 exhibitors to browse and taste as well as all day family entertainment.

More information: www.samplensw.com

Byron Bay Writers Festival launches 2014 Program

"If there’s a story to be told and if the story has some validity, some resonance, then you don’t keep it to yourself."
From Stories We Tell by Canadian Film Director Sarah Polley

The Byron Bay Writers Festival proudly opens the pages of the 18th edition of this major literary event showcasing a cavalcade of more than 130 writers, thinkers and creative spirits and a world of ideas over three action-packed days.

Festival Director Edwina Johnson says the 2014 Program is designed to challenge, provoke, connect and inspire.

'We've created a stimulating program featuring a strong core of powerful Australian writers together with acclaimed international talents. Securing celebrated UK author, Jeanette Winterson, is an enormous coup for the Festival. She’s considered one of the world’s Top 10 writers to see live and will deliver the Festival’s Keynote Address. US author Poe Ballantine will discuss his lauded memoir and will be joined by esteemed international writers including Geoff Dyer and Susie Orbach.'

'Cognisant of David Suzuki's belief that 'mounting climate evidence underscores the need to act' we have again afforded the environment a strong focus this year, Johnson says. 'We're looking forward to Bob Brown's session with Tim Flannery exploring an environmental vision for Australia.'

Johnson says the Festival team has continued with its tradition of not shying away from the complicated issues. 'Julian Burnside, Antony Loewenstein, Joanne McCarthy, and Kate McClymont are all attending. We expect robust debate about how our country treats some of the world’s most vulnerable people.'

Don't miss Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel, author of the brilliant and harrowing Thank You for Your Service and former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser as they explore Australia’s relationship with the US, prompted by influential commentator, David Marr.

The Festival will also probe into our past with authors of fiction and non-fiction including the 2014 Stella Prize winner, Clare Wright, M.L. Stedman, James Brown, Ashley Hay and Mike Carlton.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without food events. Travel the Indian spice route with fêted chef Christine Manfield at her Literary Lunch at the Byron at Byron resort. Saturday's supper with substance will be dished up by national treasures Julian Burnside and Frank Moorhouse in conversation with Sian Prior.

See John Safran's acclaimed live show Murder in Mississippi at the Byron Bay Community Centre. Then dust off your Ziggy Stardust outfits as one of Melbourne's best-loved spoken word events Liner Notes literary cabaret comes to Byron for the first time. A literary cabaret, this year's performers include, among others, Andrew Denton, Missy Higgins and Benjamin Law.

Relish another musical treat with Richard Clapton in conversation with David Leser. And let the music keep playing with Missy Higgins at the launch of her new album.

Kids Big Day Out adds an extra Festival dimension on Sunday featuring some of Australia's favourite authors led by Andy Griffiths, with Sally Rippin, Martin Chatterton, Nick Earls and two Byron Shire locals, Jesse Blackadder and Tristan Bancks. Enjoy another Festival first as Asphyxia unfolds her magical world of marionettes, and if you're one of the millions of kids who own a copy of Possum Magic, bring it along for Mem Fox to sign.

If that’s not enough literary action, delve into memoir, screenwriting, travel, poetry, romance and more at festival panels and at hands-on skills development Workshops. Enjoy over 105 sessions commencing with a John Weiley Retrospective Film Screening and conversation with Kerry O’Brien on Wednesday night and closing with the sweet voices of the Byron Bay Public School Choir.

Festival founder Chris Hanley believes the 2014 Program offers enormous depth. 'Curating any landmark international literary festival requires knowledge, dexterity and passion. Certainly, this year’s Festival signposts Byron Bay as a destination literary event.'

The Festival runs at North Byron Beach Resort from 1- 3 August with workshops commencing on 28 July. For more Festival information or to purchase tickets visit byronbaywritersfestival.com or call 1300 368 552.

Burlesque Festival in Byron Bay

The Australian Burlesque Festival 2014 is coming to Byron Bay June 12!

The ‘ABF Tour Showcase’ will be held at the Byron Community Centre, offering a night of glamorous Bump n’ Grind tease and vintage cabaret. Local and international burlesque performers will take the stage at the Byron Theatre, tantalizing the senses with their unique mixture of traditional entertainment and neo-burlesque.

The Australian Burlesque Festival has become internationally renowned for its incredibly talented performers, and eclectic burlesque shows since it began in 2010. The festival brings together a unique blend of the best Australian performers and burlesque icons from around the world.

Doors open 7pm, show begins 8pm
Tickets : click to purchase online

Splendour in the Grass 2014

2014 Splendour In The Grass Lineup: Two Door Cinema Club, Interpol, ChVrches, Darkside and Parquet Courts, Lily Allen, Vance Joy, Angus & Julia Stone, Rufus, Foster the People, London Grammar, Kelis, City and Colour, Spiderbait, the 1975, Hoodoo Gurus, 360, Metronomy, Ball Park Music, the Jezabels and loads more.

See Splendour in the Grass 2014 lineup for the complete line-up as at 23rd April 2014.

Splendour In The Grass 2014

Visit http://splendourinthegrass.com/ for more info.

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