Too much of a good thing. It might seem less than a positive way to describe this year’s Bleach* Festival but, spanning 17 days, incorporating over 40 events, hosting dozens of artists, musicians, performers and celebrities and presenting a multitude of activities, the line up definitely makes your head spin.
Almost 50,000 people attended last year’s Bleach* Festival and 2014 will be bigger still. But with so much to choose from, entertainment for all ages and 36 different venues, having so much of a good thing may see you struggling to settle on which days to visit, what to see and where to go.
Although a long way from a consummate round-up of the diverse program, here are a few events that might be well worth a space in your diary:
Best for Music – Opening Party @ Soundlounge
Friday 7th March, 7:30pm, Currumbin
Opening nights are always vibrant, energised celebrations, guests excited about the prospect of the coming events and organisers breathing a sigh of relief that all their planning has paid off. The Bleach* Opening Party will be all this and more, with three superb Australian acts taking to the stage to kick things off better than Pele at the 1970 World Cup. Elizabeth Rose injects an electro-pop spark into the launch party, a dynamic and vibrant opening act to blow the roof off Currumbin’s Soundlounge.
The Trouble With Templeton will cool that fire, their rich acoustic sound bringing a calm ambience, indicative of the ocean’s gentle flow that holds such strong presence throughout the festival.
With a sound that is part indie-pop, part ’60s surfie with more energy than an ant on Red Bull, Hey Geronimo will light that fire back up for the opening night’s finale, getting butts wiggling and toes tapping and welcoming in Bleach* ’14 in perfect style.
Best for The Family – Splash!
Friday 7th – Sunday 9th March, Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta
World-renowned circus troupe, Circa, brings the ocean to their breathtaking display of gymnastics, acrobatics and tomfoolery for Splash! – a circus-inspired performance that defies expectations and is anything but conventional. The supremely talented collective will induce more oohs and ahhs than Sydney’s millennium fireworks with their “stunning, exquisite, heart-stopping” performances, influenced by this life we lead as coast-dwellers. Outstanding acrobatics meets exhilarating aquatics in a show that will have your jaw dropping and your hair dripping. Don’t forget your umbrella!
Best for Kids – Stradbroke Dreamtime
Friday 14th – Sunday 16th March, Currumbin Beach
The Bleach* Festival is for everyone, with all age groups, all demographics, anyone from anywhere accounted for in the diverse program of stellar events. For the kids, there is Bleach* Jnr. – a completely separate timetable of events specifically designed for the pre-teen visitors. Workshops, music and activities span the festival’s 17 days, giving parents a chance to have some time to themselves as well as providing experiences for the whole family to share.
Stradbroke Dreamtime is a theatrical interpretation of the same-titled book by Oodgeroo, celebrated poet, author and artist of the local Noonuccal tribe. Queensland Theatre Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre present this adaptation of Oodgeroo‘s beautiful book, a compilation of tales from her own childhood growing up on Stradbroke Island. Fun, comical and endlessly entertaining, it brings indigenous knowledge and culture to the younger generations through dance, song and poetry.
Best for Surf – Eco Challenge
Sunday 16th March, 9am – 1pm, Currumbin Beach
The inaugural Eco Challenge Gold Coast take ecological awareness into the lineup, the wooden surfboard expression session raising funds for Surfrider Foundation‘s ‘Rise above Plastics’ project. As surfers, we don’t like to admit the unecological nature of our equipment but are still so connected to the marine environment that we will fight for its protection.
The Eco Challenge brings that awareness full circle, taking a long, hard look at marine conservation and the reduction of plastic waste as well as highlighting the versatility, sustainability and viability of timber surfboards. Outstanding surfing with a deep and important message, the Eco Challenge evolved from a love of the ocean and is spreading that love far and wide.
Best for Flat Spells – Bleach* On The Road #2
Sunday 16th March, 11am – 2pm, Pizzey Park, Miami & Runaway Bay
“Sidewalk Surfing” may be a phrase that died out with bell-bottoms and kaftans, but the love of skateboarding and its inseparable connection to it’s oceanic cousin live on. Bringing the rip-tear-shred to the concrete waves, Bleach* On The Road #2 visits two of the Gold Coast’s finest skate parks, an entourage of skate coaches, pro skaters and musicians filling the venues with more stoke than a grommet in his first barrel.
Skating and surfing go hand in hand, so Bleach* On The Road #2 unites the two activities as equal aspects of the one festival, with live music, superb exhibition skating and Skateboarding Australia Clinics to hone your tailslides and nail those ollies.
Best for Film – The Transparentsea Voyage
Friday 21st March, 7:30pm, Soundlounge, Currumbin
In 2009, a pod of surfers, photographers and musicians, including Dave Rastovich and Hilton Dawe, kayaked down the East Coast of Australia to raise awareness for marine conservation, in particular the hunting of humpback whales and the issue of marine garbage. Two years later, they repeated the venture, but this time along the Southern Californian coastline. Surfing, filming and photographing their way southwards, the group were joined by the Band of Frequencies, the surf-funk-blues-rock band creating 23 tracks, on for each of the 23 days of the journey, collaborating with Angus Stone, Will Conner, Rusty Miller and Angela Iimura among other incredible contributors.
This is the film of that journey which, although a visual experience in itself, will be powerfully complimented by live accompaniment by the Band of Frequencies themselves, playing in real time the soundtrack they created exclusively for the movie.
This is the tip of an expansive iceberg of over two weeks of entertainment spanning the length of the southern Gold Coast. To try and cram it all in to this article would have you still reading it long after the festival finished, but for more information on all events, times, locations, a full program and everything you could possibly want to know about the Bleach* Festival 2014, visit the website at: bleachfestival.com.au.
The Bleach* Festival 2014 takes place across 36 venues on the southern Gold Coast from 7th to 23rd March.