After disruptions in 2020, Mackay International Film Festival is back with an exciting line-up of one-off screenings for Mackay audiences.
The 9th Mackay International Film Festival kicks off on Saturday night with The Furnace, a new Australian film in the western genre that highlights the forgotten history of outback Ghan cameleers. In this story, a young Afghan (Ahmed Malek) teams up with a mysterious bushman (David Wenham) who holds Crown-marked gold bars. The film will be screened at the Pinnacle Playhouse on Saturday 24th July at 7 pm. Tickets are available online through TryBooking.com (return coach transfers and meal package available for those who want to be driven) or at the door (cash only).
The annual Mackay International Film Festival was launched in 2012 by Film & Arts Mackay (FAM), and this year’s film festival showcases a selection of new productions from across the world that won’t make it to regular Mackay cinemas.
Film & Arts Mackay grew out of the Friends of the Library Society, a group that had been running monthly film nights since the early 1990s. FAM continues to offer independent and arthouse films from across the world in their monthly screening events and annual film festival.
Other films on offer at this year's festival are two multi award-winning gems, Minari, playing on Friday, 30th July, and Another Round playing on Sunday, 1st August at BCC Mt Pleasant.
The opening gala film, Minari is the endearing story of a Korean family settling into regional USA. The film won Golden Globe and BAFTA awards in 2021, as well as Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Youn Yuh-jung who plays the role of the newly arrived grandmother.
Tickets to the gala event include a post-screening light supper and drinks.
The closing film, Another Round, is a Danish comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen, whose characters drunkenly stumble their way through a social experiment that is bound to go wrong.
Other highlights suggested by FAM President and festival programmer Sally Marsden are the Italian documentary, The Truffle Hunters, a must-see for lovers of good food and Italian countryside; the crowd-pleasing underdog adventure Heroic Losers from Argentina; and Cousins from Aotearoa New Zealand, a moving story about whanau (family) between three estranged Maori cousins.
With some of the sessions predicted to sell out, people are urged to book their tickets online as early as possible. Individual tickets start from $17 (7-movie saver passes are available). Full program and ticket details can be found on FAM’s website filmartsmackay.weebly.com or on their Facebook page.
A dance spectacular is headed to Mackay for both primary and secondary schools with the Lions Rock Pop Mime event confirmed for 6:30pm on Saturday 24 July, at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC)
At least fifteen schools and their pupils have been busy practicing their dancing of all sorts for months in preparation, putting the final touches to their programs before they face off against each other.
Lions Club of Mackay have hosted the event for 35 years, until that streak was broken in 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions, much to the disappointment of the schools.
Usually hosted outdoors, the well-loved, spectacular event is making its indoor debut at the MECC Plenary Halls.
Sadly, because of the need to go indoors, Lions Club has been forced - for the first time - to charge a nominal fee of $10 per seat, with tickets now available through the MECC Box Office, which you can pick up to support these local artists in training.
Rock Pop Mime attracts a large crowd each year, and this will be particularly the case as we transition this year into this new venue setting.
Each act will be judged on originality and creativity, mime accuracy, movement and coordination, costume, participants’ enjoyment and overall impression.
Mackay Lions Club is extremely excited to be bringing back the Rock Pop Mime this year, and understands that the excitement in schools is enormous too.
The Lions are happy to be providing enjoyment to the community in giving back in a way that they wouldn’t normally do.
It’s a night to come along and enjoy, supporting this spectacular cultural event with some fantastic entertainment.
Mackay Music beware – local band The Base Coats have been plugging away, and are almost ready to release their first Extended Play Record (EP), the self-titled ‘The Base Coats’ on 21 of August at Haunt. The collection features their sizzling vocal powerhouses Swoon and Fez, the dirty bass of The Fox and the genius guitar riffs of Joshy J.
Cheryl Peppin and Andrew Obst, as a duet of Fez and the Fox, joined forces with Angela ‘Swoon’ Smith and Josh ‘Joshy J’ Notting to create the Base Coats back in 2019 to instant success, winning the Regional Passport to Airlie Beach Festival of Music, and now, after a big writing and producing period during COVID, they’re ready to launch their EP.
They’ve slowly been releasing singles off the EP, with Run and Wild Card already out now.
Recorded at Heliport Studios in Buderim, Queensland with the help of producer James Russell, the EP has a gritty edge to it, starting with lyrics that sing from the perspective of the scorned lover.
“We’ve all been there, we’ve all had our hearts trampled and it sucks – there’s nothing more exciting than to write a song about that and get back at those people that did those things,” Cheryl said.
“It’s a therapeutic way to deal with your stuff.”
Backing it is each member of the four-piece band’s unique sound, that combine to craft their own style, with a little inspiration from modern heavy rock like Violent Soho, and the classic blues acts of Gin Wigmore and Larkin Poe – which bring together a sound that’s close to classic Aussie rock, but its own breed as well.
“It was a lot of fun – it’s sort of dirty blues but there’s lots of elements of the Divinyls and Baby Animals,” Joshy J said.
“A little bit of twangy rock-a-billy guitar; we went for a really raw and gritty edge to it – we’re really proud of it.”
It was recorded live and what you hear is what you get – there is no difference between an in-person Base Coats performance and their EP, it’s a real representation of the band’s sound; their comradery, journey and spontaneity a great part of that.
At the launch, local artist Jonte will be performing, and the Base Coats will be filming the film clip for ‘I’ve been there’ – a track on the EP – so everybody who gets a ticket to the launch can be a part of Base Coats history.
Check out their Facebook page to get tickets to their EP launch, or find them on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, or Bandcamp and become a Coat Hanger.
From the Bluewater Lagoon to the Mackay Showgrounds, locals have noticed some colourful friends perched on the horizons.
Six giant Gouldian Finches, complete with party hats, flew into Mackay last weekend for the Mackay Festival of Arts. But their unusual migration is almost at an end, these fantastic finches will fly the coop on Sunday 25 July.
Take a tour of the CBD this weekend to see them all before they fly away, they are perched atop Artspace Mackay, Bluewater Quay, Bluewater Lagoon, Rydges Mackay, Caneland Central and Mackay Showgrounds.
The work made its world premiere at Brisbane Festival in 2020 when Brisbane Festival artistic director Louise Bezzina commissioned the colourful Messengers of Brisbane installation as a beacon of hope for the city following an extended COVID-19 lockdown.
Mayor Greg Williamson said Louise Bezzina herself was a Mackay export.
“Louise actually used to be the Mackay Festivals coordinator many years ago, so it’s tremendous to be able to connect with her again and secure these amazing artworks for our festival,” Mayor Williamson said.
Ms Bezzina said the giant Gouldian Finches were glorious visual reminders to look up and smile, to experience a moment of joy and to celebrate.
“The Messengers will not only inspire and invigorate regional communities but will help bring locals and visitors to regions that are emerging from the interruptions of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions,” she said.
The captivating artwork was created by internationally renowned visual artist Florentijn Hofman.
Based in The Netherlands, Mr Hofman worked with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects) to bring his concept and designs to life for the major commission.
“This work breathes hope for better days. It symbolises celebrating life and being positive... especially during this period,” Hofman said.
Once found across northern Australia in their millions, in recent decades the population of the Gouldian Finch has declined dramatically to an estimated 2500 mature individuals. It’s hoped that these installations will help to raise the profile of this declining species. For more information, head to australianwildlife.org/wildlife/gouldian-finch/
Image: The Star 101.9 radio team celebrated becoming the region’s number one radio station and breakfast show.
Breakfast show host Rachel Zonta with newborn daughter, Aubree
The survey results are in and a Mackay radio station is ecstatic with the news that they have shot to the number one spot across multiple categories in the radio ratings.
Star 101.9 claimed the coveted top spot, named the most listened to radio station in Mackay and the Whitsundays with Grant Broadcasters reporting that 45,900 listeners tune in each week.
Star’s General Manager, Paul O’Connor said, “I’m overjoyed with the result.
“The team have executed our leaders in local strategy flawlessly and now they can enjoy the rewards,” Mr O’Connor said.
Grant Broadcasters reported that their Star breakfast show increased their result from a 16.6% in 2019 to become the outright number one show on a 21.3% 10+ and that the show is also number one in the 25-54 demographic with a 25.5%.
The breakfast team is made up of Sam Blacker and Rachel Zonta, who is currently on maternity leave, and Kayley Baker who is filling in for Rachel.
Sam said they were incredibly grateful to their listeners and to their management team.
“We’re so pleased we could repay the faith placed in us by the management at Star with a number one result today” said Mr Blacker.
The Mackay and Whitsunday Life team would also like to extend congratulations to Ms Zonta, who welcomed her daughter, Aubree, to the world on 23 June, 2021.
Mackay’s pop future is looking bright with Jonte Tupaea, the young top pop talent broke onto the scene with the release of his debut EP ‘Experiences’ last week.
The Year 11 Mackay State High School student can’t wait for the world to hear his finest works to date, all in one place.
The EP was recorded with Jonte’s producer Josh Beattie down in the Gold Coast and the tracks combine hooks and instrumental with themes of the teenage experience; love, loss, the highs and lows of friendships and all of the struggles of growing up.
At just 16, Jonte is a prodigy, having performed at Airlie Beach Music Festival, and has received two RADF grants for his music production.
He won the Fast Track To Fame Award from ‘Fast Track Talent Showcase’, and has locked in the opportunity to open for Isaiah at the MECC later this year.
It has been an incredible journey for Jonte, and he was proud of being so close releasing his first album after a life-long love affair with singing.
“I grew up with music, ever since I was little, my family would have parties and big sing alongs– since I was four, wherever I could, I would be singing,” Jonte said.
“It’s so nerve wracking releasing a song and my favourite part is seeing the feedback, as well as my friends, family and all these people listening to it all the time.
Jonte’s first two singles were released back in 2020, and with this EP he’s bringing those songs together, with two new songs: ‘Love Hate Relationship’ and ‘Lay Me Down’.
“These next two songs: one of them is really mellow and the other is sad, piano ballad – they show the aspects of me as an artist.
“For someone just starting out as an artist, I’m still trying to find my sound and I’m excited for everyone to be on that journey with me.”
“Listening to these songs, the EP is based off my life experiences and it’s a whole rollercoaster, from a happy song to sad song and I love all of them.
“It is surreal and I’ve been dying to listen to the whole thing all at once on the distribution platforms.
Jonte’s plans are to keep gaining experience, and one he finishes Year 12, he hopes to head to Melbourne to accelerate his musical talent and career.
You can find Experiences on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and anywhere you get your music. Stay tuned for the physical launch that Jonte has planned for later in the year.
“I’ve got some big-gigs coming up in Brisbane: Big Sound and hopefully Buskers by the Lake.”
After SOLD OUT performances of their hit stage show of Mamma Mia, Mackay Musical Comedy Players are backing up with a hilarious new act.
The adult comedy Avenue Q is set to be on stage this September, with an impressive lineup of local talent already cast for lead roles.
Actors and actresses were told they would need to practice with a sock puppet before their audition, so this performance is already shaping up to be a unique experience.
“In Avenue Q, the puppeteers are on full display for the audience,” Director Vicky said.
“Actors' facial expressions will need to be in line with that of the puppet, so the audience will be experiencing both at the same time.
“Most of the puppets are American, so actors will need to practice their accents.”
Keep an eye out on Mackay Musical Comedy Players’ Facebook page for updates.
Caption: Neville Ruddel finishing a Lazy Susan for the Mackay Woodturners Craft Expo raffle.
One of the best things about the art of woodturning is giving a beautiful piece of nature a second life.
The Mackay Woodturners Association is holding its annual Expo, made all the more special this year since COVID-19 prevented it from running last year.
The Expo has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in taking up the skill as a hobby or you’re wanting a unique gift made from wood. There will be examples of woodturning, scroll sawing, intarsia, wood carving and pyrography. Purchase a unique gift or enter the raffle.
The Woodturners Association meets regularly, every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8am until 12pm.
Snow Wright Court (Opposite the Wakeboarding, near the BMX club)
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July
9am – 3pm
Caption: All-female vocal ensemble Tutti is performing at the Conservatorium of Music next month.
Local vocal ensemble Tutti is proud to present “Swing and Song” this July at the Conservatorium of Music Mackay.
But who is Tutti?
Tutti is an all-female vocal ensemble under the direction of Jan Whelan. Jan is known around town not only for her work with the Mackay Choral Society and Mackay Musical Comedy Players but also her accompanying work with soloists, school choirs and music ministries. Jan started the ensemble back in 2002 as a small ensemble and trio and quartets.
Over the years many vocalists have graced the stage all over North Queensland under the name Tutti.
The ensemble has competed several times in competitions across Queensland and have been described by several leading adjudicators as “spectacular” and “glamorous”.
Current vocalists of the group include some well- known members in the community, performers, teachers and key members of other performing groups. All the members of the group have some knowledge and expertise in different music styles and the delectable combination of these voices is purely stunning. The program is filled with luscious harmonies and different song genres including swing, latin, ballads and folk.
Swing and Song also includes guest artist Belinda Rooney on flute. There is something for everyone.
Tutti is excited and thrilled to present Swing and Song to Mackay audiences on July 3rd and 4th at the Conservatorium of Music Mackay.
Tickets can be purchased through try booking http://www.trybooking.com/BOYEI
Michelle Wilson’s debut children’s book ‘Crocs Don’t Do Yoga’ started out on the muddy banks of Constant Creek, north of Mackay, with one of Australia’s most famous crocodiles.
Michelle had been out fishing with her daughter, Summer, and had heard tell of a big croc that was often seen lazily sleeping on the shore of the creek, and she immediately came up with a name: Connie the Croc from Constant Creek, who would become the main character of her children’s book.
Later on, Michelle saw her mum and her daughter playing a game where they pretended to be crocodiles snapping at each other and the idea grew from there.
That was how the book was born, and Michelle started the writing process over a year ago as she worked part time as a primary school teacher.
“I thought at the time that there weren’t enough picture books in the market for country kids; it was important for me that the pictures were accurate of Constant Creek and the mangroves,” Michelle said.
“It was inspired by our local environment and the beauty of those mangroves – I really wanted to give regional Queensland a voice.”
Connie the Croc is the main character of Michelle’s book, and she certainly has a couple things in common with her real-life counterpart.
“[Mackay locals] love hearing about the crocodile, and I’d love to hear people start calling it Connie!”
Connie is lively, to say the least, and she has trouble controlling her emotions, but luckily some more mindful creek dwelling creatures, like the humble yabby, have a simple solution to keep her calm and happy: yoga.
“She’s just a bit sassy – so that’s why she’s still friends with the other animals in the creek; we can all be a bit of a Connie, it’s nice that the other creatures are friends with her and want to help her with tools and ways to be calmer,” Michelle said.
Michelle is going to be back in Mackay to officially launch the book, which has been sold since late May by new publishing group Larrikin House, who she thanked greatly for the opportunity they’ve been giving new writers.
“It’s a book for Mackay and I’m going to come up and do a launch at Let The Children Play Toyshop in Mackay on the 13th of July; I do plan on visiting the schools in the area as well to share the story.”
It’s being sold online by Booktopia and at bookstores around Mackay, including the Let The Children Play Toyshop.
World-famous Australian export The Ten Tenors will be playing at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on 8 July, as part of their 25th anniversary tour.
The Tenors started all the way back in 1995 as a celebration of Channel 10, and this concert tour will be a celebration of one of Australia’s longest running and most enduring musical groups.
They started as a one-night-only group of men from the Queensland Conservatory, who got together; it was too good a thing to do just once, and they started touring in Queensland, for several years.
The rest, as they say, is history.
They’ve come a long way since their first performance, where they had a repertoire of only four songs – and they have lots of stories to tell from over the years.
“The camaraderie and feeling of being a Tenor can be likened to the combination of the best parts of a strong family bond and a secret society rolled into one,” said producer and long-time manager of The Ten Tenors D-J Wendt.
“I think that’s why the group has gone from strength to strength over the past 25 years.”
The Ten Tenors are itching to reconnect with old fans and new with a show that revisits the full history of the group’s catalogue of 15 albums and over 4000 live performances.
“We haven’t been all together since we said goodbye to each other in Brazil on March 17, 2020. We are ecstatic about the idea of doing shows again, especially to celebrate our 25th anniversary,” said long-serving Tenor Jared Newall.
“I’m amped; I’m ready to get back out there and start doing shows.”
Jared and the band were so excited to be back in Australia, after spending their previous tour – over 15 months ago – in America before the enormous hiatus.
“The crowds are incredible, and we get such a great hometown reception; even the style of touring is quite different.
“When we get to do shows in Australia – I don’t want to say that we work extra hard, because we always give it our all – but we definitely don’t take it for granted; we give it everything we’ve got.
This 25th anniversary tour is a blessing for fans across Australia – and a much-anticipated return to the stage for the group.
“We know we have to earn it every single night; we’re going to be savouring each and every show.”
Tickets available via www.thetentenors.com, get them before they sell out!
Mackay and Whitsunday Life has 4 tickets to give away to a lucky reader to see the Ten Tenors in Mackay at the MECC!
Keep an eye on the Mackay and Whitsunday Life Facebook Page this week to enter the draw.
All cultures, creeds and people are being welcomed for the 2021 Whitsundays Multicultural Festival in Bowen, which is fast approaching on July 30 at the Bowen Front Beach.
Starting at 5pm until 9pm, the free festival will be a celebration of food, entertainment and markets coinciding brilliantly with the Bowen’s 160-year anniversary.
It will be a must-see, with a lantern parade and a special cake cutting, followed by fireworks display on the beautiful parade.
There is the ever-important message of cultural acceptance and celebration that underscores the entire festival, as we come out of Reconciliation Week, it’s vital to remember Australian cultural roots, as well as our growing multi-cultural society.
Bowen is the perfect locale, with its rich aboriginal heritage and groups in the township, representing the Birri, Jangga, Juru, Gia and Ngaro peoples.
Whitsunday Regional Council had hoped to launch the inaugural event last year but it was postponed due to COVID and social distancing standards.
The original plan in 2020 was to base the festival at the popular Airlie Beach Great Australian Bites event, which has run since 2016.
The celebration will be interactive as well, with a traditional dance, cooking and art activities which locals will be able to join.
Make your way up to Bowen to honour the diversity of Bowen, the Whitsundays and Australia as a whole this July 30.
If you remember the Blues Brothers and their hit 1980’s musical, comedy film, then you’re in for a treat next Saturday 19 of June with the Soul Men’s ‘Blues Brothers’ tribute show at Airlie Beach Hotel.
The ‘Soul Men’ first began with Greg Hill, a lifelong Blues Brothers fan, who started out as Jake Blues all the way back in 2001 at a Universal Studios performance of The Blues Brothers but he outgrew the tribute mantle and became the Soul Men.
Blues Brothers have been around since 1978, as a not-quite-real and not-quite-fake musical duo of John Belushi as ‘Joliet’ Jake and his brother Elwood Blues (Dan Akroyd) for a Saturday Night Live skit.
They went on to make a film in 1980 before Belushi’s untimely passing and the two have had legendary faux-band status ever since.
The Soul Men have more than a reverence for the Brothers, they’ve taken their seven-piece band all around Australia on a mission from God to share the pleasure that comes with the Blues Brothers exuberant music and love for life.
Playing Elwood to Greg’s Jake is renowned singer and harmonica-wizard Brent Moetara, joined by vocal powerhouse Mrs Murphy played by the incomparable Asabi Goodman.
The Soul Men are a time-machine to an era when dropping the bass actually meant dropping your bass guitar and they shouldn’t be missed.
There’s choreographed dancing, as well as jokes, so the audience sees and hears a complete live Blues Brothers package.
Every member of The Soul Men knows their music and what it takes to present it in the best possible way, using costumes that portray the characters of the original Blues Brothers movie as faithfully as possible.
You’ll shake your tail feather all night long to these exceptional artists at their free show starting from 2pm at The Pub.
Clowns, superheroes, carnival rides and educational information. These were a few of the highlights at Mackay Christian College’s 2021 Open Day.
Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important parenting decisions you can make. Mackay Christian College understand this, which is why its open day is such a success. As well as the opportunity to introduce children to a school in a fun way, it provides a variety of displays showcasing what MCC has to offer students.
Tish Scholtz from MCC said that the children most enjoyed the fairground rides and fun activities, but that the day was a success with a great turnout.
“There was a great selection of stalls, and visitors could feast from a variety of food vendors.
“MCC's Creative Academy delivered live music on the outdoor stage to show parents the variety of music on offer at MCC.
“There were also performances previewing our upcoming "Matilda the Musical", Mrs Scholtz said.
The Open Day concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.
“Our Open Day would not be a success without the hard work from the MCC staff, community support, and local Mackay business sponsorship.
“We look forward to seeing you at Open Day 2022.”
An inspiring new one-day mental health event for pre-teen girls is about to come to the Whitsundays and organisers say that it will be fun and interactive, and most importantly backed by global experts in the field.
Marina Passalaris started Beautiful Minds 18 years ago and now employs 220 staff and delivers workshops to 935 schools each year, hosting 170 on-day workshops and 55 retreats.
“I believe in educating our teens at a young age about who they are, how their minds work, what healthy relationships look like, how to make good choices when it comes to peer pressure around drugs, alcohol and smoking,” she said.
“How to stop the negative self-chatter, how to like what you see when you look in the mirror, making the decisions not to sext and so many other vital topics.
“Then, we will create a generation of smart, happy, powerful young individuals who in turn will contribute greatly to their local communities. This is why Beautiful Minds is my greatest passion.”
The workshop is for 8–12-year-olds and is packed with information, tools and ideas which are backed by Stanford University experts but delivered by dynamic youth leaders in a fun and memorable way so that the participants absorb the information and can implement it in real life.
“There is a lot of movement - the performers educate and entertain - offering amazing learning and an incredible experience,” said Marina.
The event is on Saturday, 10 July and tickets are $190 each.