Star-studded line-up for the big three-oh!

The stars are rolling into town for The Festival of Arts’ 30th birthday bash.

Mark Seymour (of Hunters & Collectors fame), songstress Wendy Matthews, Aussie comic Dave Hughes, author/actor William McInnes and the cast of RocKwiz Live are just a few of the familiar faces who will be in town for the celebrations.

And who could blame them!  This year’s 30th anniversary Mackay Mazda Festival of Arts will be a spectacular of music, food, arts, entertainment and comedy.

Community Engagement Committee chair Cr Fran Mann said the Festival would kick off on July 7 with a special Gala in the Gardens.

“This year the Gala will be fully licensed and crowds can settle into the beautiful surrounds of the Meadowlands Amphitheatre for a night of live music under the stars headlined by Mark Seymour & The Undertow,” Cr Mann said.

“From there, the Festival will be packed full of dining and entertainment offerings, with something to suit everyone’s tastes,” she said.

“RocKwiz Live with Julia Zemiro and the crew will be loaded with humour, guitar riffs and charisma; G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day will once again pack Queens Park and will be headlined by Wendy Matthews; and Dave Hughes is taking the stage for the G&S Engineering Festival Comedy Club.”

For the food-lovers, Cr Mann said this year’s Festival represented a smorgasbord with everything from tasty, locally sourced Chef’s Bites to a full blown feast featuring a cascade of local restaurants’ finest flavours.

“We already have more than 30 food vendors booked in for Wine and Food Day, but I think the offerings that will most excite foodies are the Chef’s Bites and the Port of Mackay Marina Long Lunch,” she said.

“The Port of Mackay Marina Long Lunch, hosted by the marina’s resident restaurants, is the newest addition to the Festival and is a food-lovers feast consisting of a six-course lunch.

“The Black Duck Kitchens’ Chef’s Bites at Wine and Food will offer a palate-pleasing taste of the very best of our region’s local produce paired with amazing Australia wines.

“This outdoor kitchen demonstration will feature A River Cottage Australia’s Paul West who will be partnering with the Greater Whitsunday Farmers’ Market to highlight local produce.”  

On the artistic front, Cr Mann said the Festival’s team had something that would dazzle residents on a scale never before seen.

“Our lighting and sound technicians from the MECC will work with a team of local artists to transform the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens for five days from Wednesday, July 12.

“This special project, called ‘DBCT Illuminate – 30 Years of the Festival’, will transform the gardens into a mind-blowing spectacle of discovery and a trip down memory lane.

“The project will pay homage to the standout Festival events of the past with light, colour, sound and visual art.”

Of course, there is more – so much more – including the Friends of the MECC Jazz Brunch, the Landscapes with Monsters original circus-theatre show, the Whitsunday Voices Workpac Literary Dinner (hosted by William McInnes) and Caneland Central’s Lunchbox Concerts.  

As of today, the official Mackay Mazda Festival of Arts Program is available at and tickets are on sale.

So, call a family meeting, get online, grab a pen and your calendar, and start planning your Mackay Mazda Festival of Arts experience now.

Win a Mazda.

Every ticket you purchase to a Festival show (not including satellite events) gives you two entries in the draw for a Mazda 2 Neo manual, valued at $18,500 (including on road costs).

Contact: Mackay Regional Council

Phone: 1300 MACKAY (622 529)

Published: 11 May 2017