Hastings Street is set to become even more fun and colourful this evening (Friday 15 July) with more than 300 street performers in costumes and feathers strutting along the road for the spectacular free Opening Carnivale Infusion Parade, kicking off the 15th annual Noosa Long Weekend Festival. Musicians, circus performers, stilt-walkers, jugglers and dancers will celebrate the opening of the festival – 10 days and nights of seriously first-class entertainment in Noosa from 15-24 July.
The Carnivale Parade steps off from Noosa Woods at the end of Hastings Street at 5.15pm, and finishes with super heroes in a night-time skydiving spectacular on Noosa Main Beach, in front of Noosa Heads Surf Club at 6pm (weather dependent).
The Noosa Long Weekend Festival brings some of Australia’s best entertainers to Noosa for an intimate mid-winter celebration of dance, music, theatre, art, film, comedy, food, cabaret, burlesque, literature, forums and much more, with free and ticketed events.
Entertainer Damien Anthony Rossi (Mr Hollywood in Oz) will be calling Noosa home for the next 10 days as he takes on the role of festival ambassador. Joining him in Noosa are more than 250 performers including comedian Max Gillies, Rob Mills (pictured right), Julian Gargiulo, Richard Fidler, Hugh Mackay, Judy Nunn and Australian music legend and founding member of The Seekers Keith Potger.
It’s always an amazingly diverse program (more than 80 events) that would thrill audiences in any major city, so to have the chance to experience this in a regional setting where you can relax on holiday and head to the beach during the day, then dress up for a night out is very special.
Who would expect to see something like Visions of Earth featuring the Southern Cross Soloists and special guest William Barton on the didgeridoo while on a seaside holiday? Or Steinway artist Julian Gargiulo who makes classical music fashionable and funny.
Internationally celebrated Queen of Cabaret Meow Meow, direct from her critically acclaimed appearance as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London, opens the festival on Friday 15 July at The J Theatre.
During the festival you can also hear the music of Edith Piaf, Mario Lanza, Cole Porter and Smoky Jazz and Blues with the David Bentley Trio at Wood Fire Grill Restaurant. And there’s an intriguing take on Lord Byron’s Don Juan which combines poetry, drama, music and humour as extracts of the author’s life are woven into the epic poem.
Queensland Ballet comes back to the beach with a program of contemporary and neo-classical ballets, including a new ballet, Back to Bach.
There’s a great triple bill for a night of comedy and burlesque with Comedy Tonight, starring Mandy Nolan, Melony Brests and international burlesque star Sunday Lucia.
A Festival of Thought has forums and debates on democracy, ISIS and an Insiders panel discussing Australian politics.
If you want to explore some of Noosa’s secrets during the festival, join free Heritage Walks from 1-3pm including the Gubbi Gubbi Walk (16 July), Tewantin (17 July), Hastings Street (18 July), Mill Point (19 July), Pomona (20 July), Eumundi (21 July), Cooran (22 July) and Kin Kin (24 July) – must book.
New features this year include Locale After Dark with nightly impromptu pop-up experiences from 8pm by festival performers at Locale Restaurant on Hastings Street. They’ve introduced a new Beetlejuice cocktail for the Noosa Longweekend festivities. Dinner reservations are recommended.
For the kids, Noosa Reef Hotel hosts a kids’ breakfast with a Kung Fu Panda 3 live show, there’s free kids’ acting workshops; free music and magic in the Aromas forecourt, Hastings St on Saturday and Sunday, 16-17 July at 1pm and 3pm; and free 1-hour shows with Nickleby The Magician and Groovalicious music with Ric Halstead at Noosa Civic Shopping Centre on 16, 20 and 22 July at 11am.
A rousing way to end the festival is Swing on This, with Michael Falzon (We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages), Luke Kennedy (The Voice, The Ten Tenors), Rob Mills (Legally Blonde, Grease, Ghost) and Prinnie Stevens – they’ll be swinging their way through all-time swing, rock and pop classics, accompanied by the 9-piece Swing on This band.
Meow Meow image by Harmony Nicholas.