Mixing Music With Art

Light projection and speed painting on Airlie Beach Festival of Music line-up

Move over Sydney, the Airlie Beach Festival of Music is bringing its own version of ‘Vivid’ to the Whitsundays. 

During the festival weekend of November 8-10, animated digital art will be projected onto either the main tent at the Whitsunday Sailing Club or another prominent landmark in downtown Airlie Beach.

Light projection following a Gladstone workshop – Photo William Debois / Photopia Studio

Best of all, the art on display will be a community collaboration, thanks to a fully funded partnership between the festival, Kipara Tropical Rainforest Retreat and Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network (CQ-RASN). 

Anyone interested in learning how to animate digital artworks or project them in outdoor spaces can apply to attend two workshops at Kipara on October 12 and 13, led by award-winning multimedia artist Donna Maree Robinson. 

Ms Robinson, who has just projected on the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane, says she has some great ideas for using stop motion animation set to music clips.

Donna Maree Robinson’s projection ‘RISE’ on Brisbane’s William Jolly Bridge – Photo Jennifer Tunny / @brisbaneatnight

“Everyone will get to actually create an artwork and at the end of the workshop they’ll Airdrop it to me, and I’ll turn it into a collaborative work of one, single projection for display at the festival,” she explained.  

Donna Maree Robinson – Photo William Debois / Photopia Studio

CQ RASN Project Officer for Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac, Wanda Bennett, said the organisation was offering 20 scholarships to attend the workshops and could even supply iPads. 

“We’re finding a lot of events are wanting to have an animation projection component and we have a lot of creative people in our communities who may not have had the opportunity to express themselves in this way,” she said. 

“This project proves you don’t have to live in Sydney to have a ‘Vivid’ experience – we’re bringing this to your doorstep and we’re really fortunate to have an artist of Donna’s calibre in our region.”

Ms Robinson says the app she teaches workshop participants to use is easy to master, with the workshops set to be a great community bonding experience as well.  

A scene from Donna Maree Robinson’s Gladstone Digital Media Workshop – Photo William Debois / Photopia Studio

“Collaboration is something you always get great outcomes from, so if you’re keen to come along and have some fun, meet some new people and be a part of the festival, it’s a great opportunity,” she said. 

Light projections aren’t the only arts element coming to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music this year. 

Back by popular demand is speed painter Bob Gammage, whose paintings of headline acts, completed on stage in real time, will be auctioned each day. 

Speed painter Bob Gammage at work on the main stage at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music – Photo Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photography

Mackay businesswoman Lyn Downing, who together with her husband Graham is sponsoring the speed painter’s return, said 50 per cent of the profits would be returned to the community via a program to assist junior musicians and artists. 

“It’s never monetary for Bob – he doesn’t want anything more than a tank of petrol and a cup of coffee – it’s all for the love of music and seeing people enjoy music and art,” she said. 

“Bob is also a performer in his own right – when you see the painting happening with the music, it’s mind-blowing.”

Festival co-ordinator, Ellie Hanlon, said Mackay and Airlie Beach were blessed with a strong arts community she was keen to tap into. 

“The digital projection is another way of putting Airlie Beach and the festival on the map – if Sydney can have Vivid, we can have this,” she said. 

Lighting up Gladstone – Photo William Debois : Photopia Studio

“We’re also very pleased to be welcoming Bob back.

“Once we realised the extent to which he fosters art in communities and how much he gives back, we decided we wanted to take it further and establish a program worthy of the support.”

These arts elements round off a festival program including headline acts like John Butler, John Williamson, Smokie, the Australian Rock Collective, Yothu Yindi, the Superjesus, Mahalia Barnes, Bon But Not Forgotten, Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie’s Skyhooks with special guest Racey, and the Airlie Beach ‘All Stars’, consisting of Nicky Bomba, Bustamento, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde. 

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Tash Wheeler, said the new visual aspects of the festival would be a great compliment to the music. 

“These are wonderful new initiatives bringing music and art to the heart of the Great Barrier Reef,” she said. 

Expressions of Interest for the animation and projection workshops can be made via the ‘Opportunities’ section at www.cqregionalarts.net by September 19. 

Tickets to the festival are on sale via OzTix, BigTix, Whitsunday Tickets, The MECC, Tourism Whitsundays, and direct from www.airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au

For more information, follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.