Noosa Longweekend – Ten days of fun and frolic
Vacationing has many forms. Some look merely to swat flies in a crowded beach. Some look to finish a novel they have been putting off for three months. Some are full of vigor and want to reach the base camp of Mt. Everest.
Yet there are many who would want to feel the local culture of a place. Join the community in a public play. Witness a dance and meet up locals over a glass of sparkling wine made two miles away. Meet a dramatist over a drama festival. Strum a few notes on the guitar with an appreciative crowd looking on. Noosa is one such place that is trying to wear its cultural identity on its sleeves. The newly established annual festival of Noosa Longweekend is its customary celebration of life – Noosa Style.
Noosa is a small town of about 50,000 residents in South East Queensland where tourism has become the economic mainstay. Having risen in middle 19th century, Noosa benefited from the logging industry and then the gold rush, but for the last fifty years Noosa has become a tourish hotspot, so much so that about 40% of its population on any given day is composed of tourists. While the sun and shine has always been a big draw, Noosa is also a cultural hub.
With at least 17 galleries, about ten shopping hotspots, and many events, including Noosa Blue Water Swim, Noosa Half Marathon, Noosa Jazz Festival and Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival, a famed cuisine made from fresh and local ingredients, dozens of sports and adventure options, etc, Noosa is one place where you always have plenty to do.
The Noosa Longweekend is the cherry on top of Noosa culture.
On its sixth edition in 2006, the Noosa Longweekend was conceived by Australian playwright David Williamson and Kristin Williamson, his author wife, and an enthusiastic group of culture lovers helped them in this regard. While Noosa has always had a distinctive local culture with is art, food and cuisine, and cultural activities, the Longweekend was conceived as a showcase event of celebration that would focus on the essential Noosa culture as well as act as a tourist attraction.
Described as “10 fantastic days of drama film dance world music literary events art gourmet adventures and ‘envirowalks’ in one stunning location”, Longweekend celebrates life, and that includes cuisine and fine wine, delicious food, performing arts including drama and text readings, literature events, film shows and community celebrations in soothing environs. In a way, Longweekend is a pursuit to replicate the Classical Graecian ambience of Panathenaia, an old and extinct festival in Greece that witnessed a citizen spirit and participation that defies the modern modular world that Toffler had talked of in Future Shock.
A heady mix of poetry, politics and pop music, Longweekend is an occasion to make friends, find dormant interests within oneself, express one’s talent and find appreciation. The Opening Ceremony is occasioned by dancing on the Noosa beach, singing, eating and spectacular fireworks on a clear sky (a time when you appreciate the beauty of a black sky, unspoilt by pollution and city lights).
Other events include the Family Day in the Woods, the Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Beach Concert. With literary inspirations, the focal point of the festival remains the very popular performance of a Williamson play.
Last year Williamson’s play ‘Operator’ was performed by his son Rory to great public acclaim and enjoyment. Held in June, the Longweekend event is one festival that is as much for the residents as it is for the tourists. The ease with which the tourists feel a part of this festival and place amazes many. This year too, the festival is going to be held from 16th to 25th June. It is a promise of enjoyment that one should hardly miss.
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