Program promises nocturnal spectacle and shows to suit all

Flanked by giant, glow-in-the-dark bugs, Mayor Greg Williamson today revealed a Festival program packed with a plethora of performances, attractions, food and wine.

He said the Mackay Mazda Festival of Arts program was a triumph of local arts, food and entertainment and included some exciting guest acts.

“I think what will really appeal to people about this year’s line-up is the diversity of events on offer,” Cr Williamson said.

“There are free family events like the G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day and the expanded DBCT Illuminate here at the gardens,” he said.

“Add to that the spectacle of the Wonderland Spiegeltent with acrobatic burlesque and circus shows, the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world premiere of world-class ballet Ne:Roi, and the hilarious G&S Comedy Club with Dave Thornton, and you have events that will appeal to everyone.

“We’ve also tried to give exposure to some of our region’s picturesque hidden gems, like the Pinnacle Playhouse.

“Our Festivals team has organised a special Day in the Valley experience where you can catch a bus from town, enjoy a degustation menu at the Church Café and then laugh and tap your feet to the dance comedy show Swing Man by Damian Callinan.

“Callinan has a razor-sharp wit and many would recognise him from shows like Spicks and Specks.”

Cr Williamson said to celebrate the launch of the program and reward “early birds”, the MECC was offering $5 off the price of tickets for the two Spiegeltent shows – the family show, Circus Wonderland, and the acrobatic burlesque show for adults, Rouge.

“You just need to book your tickets before June 7,” he said.

“And, as a bonus, for every ticket purchased before July 20 you get three entries, instead of one, in the draw to win a Mazda 2.”

Dutch for “mirror tent”, the Spiegeltent will be set up between the MECC and Artspace and will provide a truly unique, intimate, stylish and historic setting for some great entertainment.

Following the success of last year’s maiden DBCT Illuminate, this spectacle of light and art is back at the Botanic Gardens.

There will be new local displays, more interactive elements, onsite entertainment and food, and some mind-blowing installations all the way from Melbourne.

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) CEO Steve Rae said the company was once again proud to support this amazing spectacle.

“There was an amazing community response to the event in 2017, and we are excited to be involved with the initiative again this year,” he said.

This year’s event features new displays that include giant roving firefly puppets, interactive cocoons, a neon photo booth including calypso float, and much more, all beautifully illuminated by the lighting team at the MECC.  

Residents are invited to be part of DBCT Illuminate by taking part in the artist-led workshops in the lead-up to the festival where many of the artworks will be crafted.

Workshop coordinator Wanda Bennett said everyone was welcome to come along to help create large-scale lanterns and glow-in-the-dark cane and bamboo creations.

“We will be running family drop-in workshops at the Botanic Gardens in June and July, as well as some in-school workshops and school holiday workshops,” Ms Bennett said.

“We want to give as many locals as possible the chance to contribute to this amazing display that becomes a sensational night out for families,” she said.

Keep an eye on the Festival Mackay Facebook page for updates on workshop times and locations.  

If you want more information or would like to offer your time to help craft glow-in-the-dark creations, you can also contact Ms Bennett on 0407171371.

This year, the Festival program also features an extensive Fringe Events section, which includes the Workpac Whitsunday Voices Literary Dinner, Mackay Cup, Mackay Chamber Music Festival and more than a dozen other shows, plays, exhibitions, dinners, expos, workshops and family-friendly activities.

You can pick up your free Mackay Mazda Festival of Arts Program from the MECC Box Office or download it online from themecc.com.au/foa.  Tickets are on sale now.