Join The Festival Jam

If you think you’ve seen “that guy from TV” in Airlie Beach this weekend, you’re probably right.

Australia’s cheekiest television presenter Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson is headed for the Airlie Beach Festival of Music to mix it up with this year’s headline acts from November 8-10.

The former Australian Idol judge won’t be taking to the stage, but he will be a guest in the main tent.

“I haven’t visited before, but I’ve heard so many things about it,” he said.

“For me it’s an opportunity to get out and experience what is really unique about festivals in Australia and that’s what I’m excited about – to see what this festival’s personality is and what it stands for.”

As for his pick of the top talent, Tia Gostelow ranks high on the list.

“To be honest I’m kind of intrigued to see Smokie too; they were a big act when I was a kid growing up in England,” he said.

“I think there’ll be a massive sing-along when they play ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ and I imagine quite a few swear words as well!”

Dicko’s best advice to festival fans is to go with an open mind.

“More than anything, as with most boutique festivals, it’s an opportunity to see some surprises as well,” he said.

“If you go to a festival with a prescriptive idea of what you’re going to see you cut yourself off to some musical magic.”

Part of that magic this year will be the chance for the community to feature in an official Airlie Beach Festival of Music video shot on the main street, this Sunday at 11am.

A parade of musicians, led by Nicky Bomba, his band Bustamento and other festival acts, will take the music up the street from KC’s Bar and Grill, all the way to the Airlie Beach lagoon.

Festival videographer, Louise Brown, from Wasp NQ Productions, said last year’s street parade was visually fantastic and she encouraged as many people as possible to play a part.

“The thing that really stood out to us was the vibrant colour, the awesome street party vibe, and the genuine smiles,” she said.

“We’d love to make it bigger and better this year so get involved – it’s heaps of fun.”

These sentiments were echoed by Nicky Bomba, who said the more people came spilling out of the venues to join the parade, the better the party would be.

“This is a celebration – we’re celebrating a community, musicians and joy – and also a great weekend in Airlie Beach, where people can hear so many different styles of music,” he said.

“If you want to dress up or there’s an instrument you want to play, Sunday’s the time to do it – you’ll actually get to be a part of the festival and basically get up to a bit of mayhem!”

No stranger to the festival, having played with his “cruise liner” the Melbourne Ska Orchestra last year, Nicky’s top tips for this weekend are John Butler and the Airlie Beach All Stars jam.

“It was such a good performance last year we’re doing it all again, and we’ve got Frankie J Holden, Wilbur Wilde, even Bongo Starkie from Skyhooks, all the crew from Bustamento, and some other surprises up our sleeves,” he said.

For festival passes, head to the ticket office downstairs at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, and for all the latest news over the weekend be sure to follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram.