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Arts on the horizon

Dawn Awakening at Stumers Creek in Coolum. image: ben vos photography

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Arts on the horizon

The Coast will again play host to an arts extravaganza when the 10-day Horizon Festival kicks off in August.

A dedicated team of local arts professionals worked together for months to bring more than 200 arts and culture-inspired events to life during last year’s 10-day Horizon Festival and the appetite for creative experiences from the Sunshine Coast community continues to increase.

Delivering yet another stellar line-up for 2018 is a challenge Horizon Festival director Jo Jordan says she is happy to be faced with.

This year is the third for the festival, which provides a platform for local artists to showcase their skills as well as collaborate with national and international talents to provide unique events for Coast residents and visitors.

Horizon has struck a chord with the community since its inception in 2016, where Ms Jordan says they were able to prove the potential of the festival with limited resources.

Recognising the wide-ranging community benefits of such a unique festival, the Sunshine Coast Council has committed funding up until 2019 and My Weekly Preview has become a proud supporter.

“A real momentum was built from the inaugural event and probably the one thing that we didn’t anticipate was the level of growth we would see in Year two,” Ms Jordan says.

“We had 35,000 people engaged over the 10 days in 2016, and in 2017 we had more than 50,000 people connect with the events and projects that were developed in collaboration with the arts community across the Sunshine Coast.

“What’s even more extraordinary is the incredible number of artists, producers, communities and volunteers engaged with the delivery of this festival.”

Demand for one of last year’s highlights – Architects of Air’s world-famous walk through inflatable art structure Arboria luminarium – was so great they exceeded the anticipated attendance with more than 13,000 people experiencing this immersive art installation.

“That was a really tangible outcome,” Ms Jordan says.

“Another highlight was seeing 1100 people get up at 4am on Father’s Day to be part of the Dawn Awakening event at Stumers Creek in Coolum. That whole project really embodied the concept of ‘art responding to place’ with stunning imagery inspired by local indigenous stories projected onto the surrounding sand banks and live performances by the Gubbi Gubbi dance troupe and local and visiting musicians and choirs.”

Ms Jordan says while this year’s extensive program is still being finalised, details of the planned delights will start to emerge from mid-June before a full program release in early July.

“Once again, Horizon will deliver events across performance, visual art, music, street art, comedy, theatre and immersive technology. A lot of these projects are still in development and even where we are bringing an existing work to the Coast, we are going to put a local spin on it and connect to our grassroots arts industry to create something unique for our community,” she says.

“It’s all about balance and for the 2018 and 2019 festivals we have moved to a more curatorial programming format, so essentially we’ve looked at a number of key focus areas including First Nations and immersive art, art that responds to place, and how technology, the environment and popular culture have influenced the arts. There’s a story behind every project and we can’t wait to start telling them.”

The Horizon Festival is on from August 24 to September 2 and is proudly supported by My Weekly Preview. Stay up to date on program announcements, behind the scenes news and event information by following the Horizon Festival Facebook page or signing up to e-news on horizonfestival.com.au.

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Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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