Siobhan Corcoran will perform at the festival.
Siobhan Corcoran will perform at the festival.

Surfing the soundwaves at bigger and better festival

WITH the weather gods set to continue to bless us with their clear sky presence at next weekend's Surfing the Coldstream Festival (hello wood, we're touching you), co-ordinator Phil Nicholas said they were all set to deliver the best event of its kind on the North Coast.

"We have looked around. There are other free festivals but nothing compares to the quality of music and amount of community involvement as this one. And it's a fantastic location. Where else can you look at the Pacific Ocean while taking in a band for free."

This year is the first 'extended' STCF, which sees the one-day event now offering three big days of performances which will not only saturate the streets of Yamba but also select venues in Maclean and South Grafton.

And while the festival on the surface is a celebration of music and the arts, the strong community foundation upon which it is built was paramount when planning an event of this nature.

"Because it is a free festival and it is run by volunteers, it gives people a sense of ownership. Otherwise events like these drop off the planet and no-one notices."

Mr Nicholas said beyond the excellent musical program, the variety of workshops, group demonstrations and activities on offer are all about "providing pathways" for talented and artistic people inhabiting the Clarence to showcase their skills.

"We have everything from indigenous stories, to students looking after hair and beauty, so you look your best for the festival. There are children's activities and events that see every single primary school in the Lower Clarence involved."

From a commercial point of view, Mr Nicholas said the backing by its major sponsors (Clarence Valley Council, North Coast TAFE and Yamba Chamber of Commerce) has been integral to the continued success of this free event (the only ticketed events are the special double bill at the Pelican Playhouse and the Short Film Festival).

"The main goal there was to drive overnight stays through the shoulder period (between school holidays and Christmas) and the festival is the centrepiece for that."

Other financial support comes from the profits derived from the Yamba River Markets, also managed by Mr Nicholas's company Live Prawn Productions.

He said those coffers also help finance other not-for-profit art and cultural events held other times of the year like the Plunge festival at Easter.

"These events are all about attracting people from all walks to the region. There's no fence around the Surfing the Coldstream Festival. It's open to everybody."

Coldstream Festival gig guide

Friday, Oct 16

7.15pm: The April Maze + Siobhan Corcoran, Pelican Playhouse South Grafton. (ticketed event)

7.30pm: Coldstream Short Film Festival, Yamba Cinema (ticketed event)

7.30pm: The Whiskey Drop + Nick & Sam, Maclean Hotel

Saturday, Oct 17 (all Yamba events)

Midday: G'Day Africa Drumming Workshop, Main Stage

12.45pm: Opening Ceremony, Flinders Park

1.15pm: Psychedelic Goldfish, Main Stage

1.55pm: Spaghetti Circus, Flinders Park

2.40pm: The Fawlty Dogs, Ocean View Stage

3.25pm: Coldstream Community Showcase, Main Stage

4.25pm: The Little Stevies, Ocean View Stage

5.10pm: The Mid-North, Main Stage

5.55pm: The April Maze, Ocean View Stage

6.40pm: Microwave Jenny, Main Stage

7.25pm: Flame Squad, Flinders Park

7.45pm: The Mouldy Lovers, Main Stage

9pm: Grace Barbe, Main Stage

10.30pm: Nocturnal Tapes, Pacific Hotel

Sunday, Oct 18

11am: Siobhan Corcoran, Leche Cafe, Yamba

11am: Grace Barbe - cooking workshop, Kitchen to Table, Yamba

2pm: Grace Hickey + Flipside, Maclean Hotel

For other activities visit surfingthecoldstream.com.au



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