Summer and music festivals have traditionally gone hand in hand. But here on the Sunshine Coast, it’s our pretty winter days that deliver a feast of festivals to feed our cultural hunger. Despite changes to the region’s calendar, including the surprising cancellation of the annual Caloundra Music Festival, there is still plenty for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

From long lunches and literary events to jazz and country vibes, our entertainment scene is about to heat up. Read on and have your calendar ready to ensure you don’t miss any of the fun and fabulous activities.

 

July 19 to 28 – NOOSA ALIVE

One of Queensland’s longest-running successful festivals, NOOSA alive!, has been a staple on the Coast’s cultural calendar for the past 23 years. It features an ever-changing and diverse line-up of acts, workshops and events that span 10 days across various Noosa locations. From comedians and artists to authors, environmentalists, commentators, dancers and actors, the festival attracts some of the nation’s best entertainers.

This year, it will kick off with the Seaside Vibes music event at Main Beach, headlined by country/Americana roots rocker Wesley Dean.

Better known in Australia as Aria chart-topper Wes Carr, his Noosa performance will be supported by The Froth, Gold Creek and Waiting For Tom. Seaside Vibes is an 18-plus event and tickets are available through the NOOSA alive! website.

The festival will continue throughout the week, with events ranging from a performance by much-loved Aussie comedian Tom Gleeson to an evening with acclaimed Australian actor John Bell and classical pianist Simon Tedeschi. There will also be an In Conversation morning with writer and actor William McInnes, plus various food, wine and film offerings.

NOOSA alive! president Andrew Stafford says he is excited to bring the festival to the Coast’s stage.

“We have high-level artistic inclusions with an interactive point of difference allowing the community to be involved in performances, masterclasses and workshops with some of Australia’s best artists, such as John Bell AO OBE,” he tells salt.

“The literary program continues to grow, a new inclusion is two world-class magicians, and [Australian Chamber Orchestra artistic director and violinist] Richard Tognetti returns with Satu In The Beyond.

Andrew says with ticket prices remaining affordable, there is something for everyone.

“From children’s eco-friendly interactive musical performances to our popular opera on the beach. We welcome Queensland Ballet for their eleventh consecutive year, showcasing two performances with one being a world premiere, our Noosa Stars alive! talent search is in its third year, and a smorgasbord of live performances and surprises for everyone.”

Visit noosaalive.com.au

Don’t miss: Swifties can dig out their sequins, glitter and friendship bracelets for the Taylor Swift Tribute Show. There are two performances – a 45-minute show at Noosa’s Main Beach under the Bendigo Bank Marquee on Sunday, July 21 and a full performance at The J Theatre on Tuesday, July 23.

 

July 26 to August 4 – THE CURATED PLATE

This favourite foodie festival is back for another year to give people a taste of all things Sunshine Coast. Participants will enjoy culinary delights from local chefs, with local produce the star of the event.

This year’s program includes a Chefs in Conversation afternoon on July 27 hosted by celebrity cook Hayden Quinn of Masterchef fame. Hayden will uncover the secrets behind four of the Coast’s celebrated chefs while guests enjoy a cocktail and curated menu of locally produced canapes.

Another Curated Plate highlight will be the Asian Food Festival with The Tamarind, Rice Boi and Spirit House coming together at Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny on August 3 and 4. People are invited to head along with a blanket and laze in the sun as they enjoy some of the region’s best Asian tastes.

With farm tours, under-the-stars dining events, cooking classes, brewery and wine offerings, and even a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, there will be something for everyone at this year’s celebration of all things food.

Visit thecuratedplate.com.au

TIP! Don’t miss the Yanalla Farms Celebrate Glass House Country Long Lunch on July 27.

 

August 1 to 4 – THE RANGEBOW FESTIVAL

Culture, community, diversity and creativity – what more could you ask for from a hinterland festival? Over four days, Maleny, Montville, Flaxton and Mapleton will shine brightly for this colourful festival, which focuses on the themes of wellbeing, cohesive community and value.

Enjoy the sweet sounds of the Sunshine Coast Symphony Orchestra and opera singers of international acclaim as they perform a selection of the world’s most popular arias. There will also be a burlesque show featuring The Kitty Kats, plus drag bingo, a First Nations’ gourmet and culture experience and young muso events.

The Rangebow Festival is one of the first offerings funded under the Sunshine Coast Council’s Major Events Sponsorship Program’s Emerging Events category.

Visit therangebowfestival.org

One for the families: The Enchanted Garden Festival Hub will be located in the Montville Village Green and feature free performances across the four-day event. There will be circus acts, creative workshops, live music and ice-cream and pizza available to buy. 

 

August 9 to 10 – AUSTRALIAN WEARABLE  ART FESTIVAL

Art enthusiasts, creative minds and the fashion-forward have been coming together since 2019 to celebrate the wearable art scene and talent at its best, and this year will be no different. Thirty-nine national and international art pieces will spring to life on the 27-metre-long catwalk across four categories: recycled trashion, foraged organics in sustainable nature, floriana incorporating floristry elements and avante-garde.

Festival curator Wendy Roe says the event produces sculptural artworks that would not be out of place at the Met Gala or Paris Fashion Week. Ms Roe believes the festival’s success is rooted in a unique and authentically delivered showcase that connects audiences and artists.

“As a meeting point of art, fashion, costuming and technology, the festival fills a particular niche in the national art landscape. It’s designed as an opportunity to connect wearable artists and designers to industry; there are few events where relatively unknown artists can gain national exposure on the scale we see at the Australian Wearable Art Festival.”

The festival will be held at Venue 114, Bokarina. For tickets, visit australianwearableart.com.au

Need to know: The festival includes three sessions – a Friday night show, a Saturday matinee and the Saturday night gala event.

 

August 11 – THE SUNSHINE COAST MARATHON  & COMMUNITY RUN FESTIVAL  What better time to enjoy a run than during a Sunshine Coast winter? And with little more than blue skies and the deep blue water of the Pacific stretching before you, this sporting event is a popular date on the local calendar. The Alexandra Headland-based festival boasts a range of competitive events, including the marathon, half marathon, 10 kilometre, five kilometre and two-kilometre runs.

Visit sunshinecoastmarathon.com.au

Winning formula: The marathon has raised more than $2 million for charities and community groups.

 

August 22 to September 1 – NOOSA JAZZ FESTIVAL

Let the smooth sound of jazz tickle your ears as leading Australian and international musicians share their talent across a range of venues, including concert theatres, restaurants, bars, parks and even river cruises. Hosted by the Noosa Heads Jazz Club, the festival kicks off with a joint concert featuring the Australian Jazz Ensemble and the Noosa Chorale.

Visit noosajazzclub.com

Don’t miss: The festival will close with an afternoon concert at The Riverstage along the Noosa River on Father’s Day.

 

From August 23 – SUNSHINE COAST NATIONAL  ART PRIZE

Touted as one of the nation’s most recognised and celebrated art events, this Coast-based competition brings together 40 finalists as they compete for their share of the $35,000 prize pool. Featuring a vibrant and dynamic array of pieces, the art prize is open to Australian contemporary artists working in any 2D medium and in new media. The work of the finalists will be on display at the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery until October 13. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday.

Visit gallery.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

Did you know? This festival of the arts is now celebrating its 18th year here on the Sunshine Coast.

 

CALENDAR CHANGES

A popular 10-day arts festival will be held at a different time of year than usual to fill a gap in the Sunshine Coast events calendar.

The Horizon Festival will move from August to the quieter period of May 2-11 next year. Horizon’s opening weekend will coincide with the 2025 Labour Day public holiday, allowing more people to come and enjoy the festival, according to the Sunshine Coast Council.

The move follows the news that the annual Caloundra Music Festival has been cancelled for 2024.

The council cited rising operational costs and the impact of higher interest rates and living costs as the reason. It is hoped the festival will return to the events calendar next year.