Byron Bay is an area infused with creativity and spirit. Visit our region any time throughout the year and you’ll find a range of events that showcase some of our most creative locals as well as musicians, artists and writers from far and wide. There are exhibitions, concerts, performances, and a calendar jam packed with fabulous festivals that shouldn’t be missed.
And when it comes to festivals, nothing quite says Byron Bay like the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival. For 22 years (yes 22!) Bluesfest as it’s also known, has been taking root at local farmland during the Easter long weekend. It recently moved to a permanent home at Tyagarah (after trying to find a permanent base since 1996) which is located just 11 km from town and nestled on 120 hectares. The new home is a perfect spot to experience the always fabulous music from the blues-inspired musicians and international blues legends, that have graced its stages over the years. In its current incarnation you’ll discover 5 performance stages, 3 bars, 2 undercover food halls, a coffee shop and an abundance of food and market stalls. It’s a family affair too where children are welcome and play areas and child minding facilities are available.
For lovers of literature, the Byron Bay Writers Festival is an event not to be missed. It’s a celebration of the best in Australian writing that has been held annually since 1997. And while the focus is on local authors, the festival has a close relationship with the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival and invites Indonesian and Asian writers to participate. The last event sold 45,000 individual tickets to its jam packed program sessions featuring over 100 writers. So, hear your favourite author talk, learn what’s new in the world of writing, or enjoy the festival entertainment. The 2011 festival will take place from August 5 to 7 and has a theme of passion. Entertainer Kamahl will perform poems of passion; Paul Kelly will give a live show; Louis de Bernieres will reflect on films and fiction and Bill Leak will discuss his hard-hitting cartoons. Also this year will see the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Sculpture competition. If you’re passionate about the arts, writing or Byron Bay, it’s an event not to be missed.
For fans of the silver screen, the Byron Bay Film Festival runs annually in March. It began in 2006 as a showcase for local filmmakers, but quickly spread to include around 150 films from over 30 countries and features both local and world premieres. The opening and closing gala nights are red carpet affairs that attract big names from the film world so book your tickets early. And there is a side program of free events including forums, discussions and workshops. For a celebration of film in one of the most scenic settings in the country, nothing quite compares to the Bryon Bay Film Festival.
Or for something truly unique, how about the Byron Bay Underwater Festival? Initiated in 2006 by members of the Australian dive community, it invites divers to the region to participate in 100 events over ten days in September. A main component is the Underwater Festival Shootout, a competition to celebrate the best in underwater photography and video. The Shootout competition will break new ground in 2011 by being held simultaneously in 25 countries across Australasia. And there’s a prize pool of $100,000. There’s also an art competition which is open to all mediums – photography, painting, sculpture, drawing and others. The Underwater Festival is all about promoting fabulous Australian dive sites. Diving in the gorgeous clear waters of Byron Bay! What could be better?
And these are just a few of the many Byron Bay festivals that pack the calendar each year. How about the Byron Bay Latin Fiesta, Fatherhood Festival or any number of sporting events including the Summer of Cycling, Byron Bay Triathlon, Winter Whales Swim. Big Paddle and Surf festivals. Byron Bay is a region that deserves to be celebrated all year round and festivals are a great excuse to keep the party going.