Festivals in Australia are an exciting way of getting an action-packed "quick fix" on a region. Of course, major art festivals, held annually over several weeks in our capital cities, are more than that, with their emphasis on the best in visual and performing arts that the world, as well as Australia, can offer.
In regional areas, such as Tropical North Queensland, many of an area’s cultural, creative and sporting attractions are showcased in a kaleidoscope of frenzied activity by tropical artists and sportspeople.
Volunteers work very hard to make their festivals a success so do contribute your expertise and time by becoming involved in your local arts festival by helping to build it!
However, most people visit festivals just to have a great time, not to actually shape them.
'Comafantasia' - image courtesy Maggie Olivera
Maybe you like the pace to be fast and furious?
If you would prefer to proceed at a more leisurely pace, or if you have a particular interest, it’s easy to just choose components from what is on offer.
Take your pick from street parties, sporting events, circus, multi-cultural community activities, food and wine celebrations, art exhibitions, cabaret or fashion parades.
August sees the cosmopolitan city of Darwin, in the Northern Territory, come alive with song, dance, stories and art for the Darwin Festival, a melting pot of Asian, Indigenous and Pacific cultures. So exciting; I would like to go every year!
Festival Cairns showcases the region and its multi-cultural diversity with a week long event-filled celebration, funded and promoted by the Cairns Regional Council.
Yungaburra's Folk Festival, true to its name, offers a plethora of concerts, body painting, lantern making, fire dancing, writing, belly dancing and storytelling workshops.
Government grants for artists and generous business sponsorship help to meet some of the huge costs of running these cultural events.
If you are interested in history, the Cooktown celebrations kick off with a re-enactment of its founder, James Cook’s forced landing at the mouth of the Endeavour River in 1770.
The artist with the Cook expedition, Joseph Banks, spent his time ashore drawing the many strange botanical specimens that he had collected and naming some (eg banksia).
The award winning Port Douglas Carnivale has established itself as a leading event in the region.
People, just like you, travel from afar to be involved in it, so we
hope to see you at the street party, the beach day... or unrecognisable
in your mask at the elegant
art exhibition or food and wine evening!
Whatever your interests, one of the festivals in Australia is sure to be a highlight of your visit.
Following on the success of the Low Isles Exhibition at Port Douglas in November,
2007, it was decided to extend the celebrations centred around this
season of abundance and renewal that heralds the Wet season, to include a
number of art related events under the banner of
Go Troppo Arts Festival,
Port Douglas. And so, a newcomer burst onto the scene!
NB Unfortunately, due to an acute shortage of funds, this three year old festival was unable to be held after 2010. Now that the new Douglas Shire has been de-amalgamated from the Cairns Council (2013) it is hoped that 2014 may see a revival of this highly successful celebration.
Major festivals in Australia:
It is interesting to note that, as Cairns Regional Gallery Director, Paul Brinkman pointed out in his opening address at the launch of the Go Troppo Arts Festival in 2010, most major arts festivals, such as the Vienna Festival and the Munich Festival, started as small community events, not unlike the Go Troppo Arts Festival.