Countdown To 2019 Festival
On Thursday, November 7, musicians will be gathering on the Airlie Beach foreshore.
Their low-key jam starts one of the Whitsundays’ highest profile events – the seventh annual Airlie Beach Festival of Music, bringing thousands of people and millions of dollars to town.
Behind the scenes organisers are putting the final touches on artist transfers, accommodation, rosters and logistics and asking that all important question: “have you got your tickets yet?”.
Ticket holders will have access to not just the main stage by the water’s edge at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, but also the additional 17 venues spread throughout Airlie Beach.
Non-ticket holders will be charged an entry fee to Airlie Beach Festival of Music venues and in some cases there is no entry without a wrist-band.
The idea behind the festival’s model is that as well as enjoying big-name, headline acts, in Airlie Beach you can discover new talent.
Established acts, emerging artists and the festival’s national Passport to Airlie finalists will entertain the crowds on the main street by day.
When the main tent opens, the music in the other venues pauses, resuming in select spots once the headliners have finished for the night.
Festival founder, Gavin Butlin, said nowhere else but Airlie Beach could people experience a town coming alive to the sounds of music in this way.
“From one end of Airlie Beach to the other, the atmosphere is just electric,” he said.
“And because all our venues are quite close to each other, everything is easy to get to and fully equipped.”
Technically the festival runs from Friday, November 8 to Sunday, November 10, but three-day-pass-holders reap another advantage from free access to the Thursday jam at Beaches Bar in Airlie Beach and the Monday after-party at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill.
Non-ticket holders will be able to attend the after-party for an entry fee of $40.
“For someone with a three-day pass that’s five days of live music for $300 – it doesn’t get much better than that,” Mr Butlin said.
“But if you’re time-poor or watching your cash you can still come for a single day – just take your pick.”
Mr Butlin’s pick of the three-day main stage line-up is the opening night on Friday, November 8, featuring Mahalia Barnes, Stars, Pierce Brothers, The Superjesus and the Australian Rock Collective, comprising members from Powderfinger, Jet, You Am I and Spiderbait.
Other headline acts playing the following two days include John Williamson, John Butler, Smokie, Yothu Yindi, Skyhooks, Racey, Bon But Not Forgotten, and the ‘Airlie Beach All Stars’: Nicky Bomba, Bustamento, Clare O’Meara, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Tash Wheeler, said the Airlie Beach Festival of Music was where live music met the Great Barrier Reef.
“This is no average music festival,” she said.
“It’s the beating heart of a musical town in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.”
The Airlie Beach Festival of Music is an 18-plus event, with the exception of one under 18’s show on the morning of Saturday, November 9, incorporating Australia’s Got Talent finalists George and Noriko and Juzzie Smith.