Whitsunday Region Entertainment News

Ole! – New Spanish Night At The Rocks

Ole! – New Spanish Night At The Rocks

The Rocks Restaurant at Coral Sea Resort in Airlie Beach is launching its first Spanish themed evening this Monday and, with delicious freshly made paella, tapas and of course sangria on the menu, this cultural extravaganza is set to be a gastronomic feast as well as a fun fiesta!

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FESTIVAL FEVER!

FESTIVAL FEVER!

The 21st Great Barrier Reef Festival Comes To Airlie Beach This Weekend The Airlie Beach Foreshore is set to come alive with colour, culture, fun and festivity this week as four days of activities and events create a lively environment for the whole family to enjoy. Proudly presented by Cruise Whitsunday, the 21st annual Great Barrier Reef Festival celebrates our unique Whitsunday lifestyles while raising awareness for our precious ecosystem.

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Great Barrel Of Laughs At Great Barrier Reef Festival

Great Barrel Of Laughs At Great Barrier Reef Festival

The Great Barrier Reef Festival is back, as well as the night of side-splitting laughter that is the Comedy Gala at the Reef Gateway Hotel on August 5 at 7:00pm, featuring two fantastic comedians: quick-witted comedian Lindsay Webb and British humourist Dan Willis.

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Get Your Song On At The Reef Festival’s Pub Choir

Get Your Song On At The Reef Festival’s Pub Choir

Hark! The Reef Festival has put out the call for singers, part-time, professional, wannabe, tone deaf or anybody with a voice at all, to be a part of The Assembly of Greatness Pub Choir at the Airlie Beach Hotel coming up on August 7.

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Movie Review: Black Widow (2021)

July 29, 2021

After more than a decade of waiting, Marvel’s first female Avenger has received a solo outing in Black Widow (2021), arriving in theatres in late June.

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is the Black Widow, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's enormous anthology, with this film set directly after the events of 2016’s Civil War. Here, she confronts the darker parts of her past in a dangerous conspiracy that takes her back home to her mother country of Russia. She is pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, and she must deal with the broken relationships she left behind before becoming an Avenger.

At its core, the film is about family and accepting the people around you as your family. She is bound to those she left behind in Russia by more than just blood, like she is with her Avengers teammates. It is a soul-searching and pensive film for a majority of it’s runtime, with the characteristic action finale that viewers will be used to from a Marvel film.

Johansson and co-star Florence Pugh’s as Yelena – Black Widow’s Sister - are the stars of the show, with a hilarious role for David Harbour as Alexei; each putting in some excellent performances. It's the perfect way to spend the afternoon, by re-joining a much-loved and strong female character in a familiar, but at the same time vastly different setting. It’s screening now at the Bowen Summergarden Cinemas and is rated M for Mature audiences.

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Southern Boaties Set Sail For Airlie Beach Race Week

July 22, 2021

Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) officials and members are looking through their spy glasses with anticipation as a record number of competitors and their supporters travel from all around Australia for the 33rd Airlie Beach Race Week, to be held from 12-19 August.

Event Chairman Ross Chisholm says that 156 boats have already entered the Race Week, a record number, and many interstaters are already in town.

“We remain hopeful that the current situation will not end up restricting those who are in lockdown at present,” Event Chairman, Ross Chisholm said.

The southern sailors of Victoria, South Australia and NSW are champing at the bit to head to Airlie Beach, with Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore John Kint among them.

John will be racing in the 53-strong Cruising Division.

“We are free from lockdown and itching to go racing again,” says Kint, who discovered the joys of Airlie Beach Race Week back in 1994.

“We came back in 2016, 2017, and 2018, so this will be our fourth. Coming back has something to do with the people – and the sunshine.”

“Three of us will sail the boat up; we’re very buoyant and upbeat. Our crew is dying to get to Airlie. We have 18 crew that will be used in rotation - that’s how keen we all are to go,” Kint said.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Tash Wheeler, said an extremely exciting Raceweek is ahead with the record number of entrants.

“The Whitsundays offer some of the world’s best sailing, with a combination of clear turquoise waters, steady breezes, secluded coves and fringing reefs The Whitsundays is the Heart of Sailing,” Ms Wheeler said.

“Airlie Beach Race Week has attracted entrants from all over the country, and with seven days and nights of high-profile entertainment and social activities, we are thrilled to hear that already over 150 boats are entered.”

Entries don’t close until Monday 2 August, and to enter online go to: www.abrw.com.au

For a full calendar of events and information: www.whitsundaysailingclub.com.au or by contacting the sailing manager at: sailing@whitsundaysailingclub.com.au

Image: Airlie Beach Race Week in 2019

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A Celebration Of All Cultures At Inaugural Whitsunday Multicultural Festival

June 11, 2021

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.

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On A Mission From God: Blues Brothers Tribute At Airlie Beach Hotel

June 11, 2021

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.

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Pre-Teen Mental Health Workshop Coming Soon

June 4, 2021

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.

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Calling all Artists – To Bowen Art Ehibition

June 4, 2021

Entry forms are now available for the 60th Bowen Art Society Annual Exhibition and all local artists are encouraged to enter this iconic exhibition, which was the only show of its kind outside of Brisbane when it first started.

President of Bowen Arts Society, Julie Jurgens, said that the art show was established by Doctor Laurrie Hawes and it paved the way for other regional art shows, becoming a popular event on the annual calendar.

With $1000 in prize money up for grabs, submissions are welcome in a variety of disciplines - from oil paintings to water colour, acrylic to drawing – each with individual prize money.

This year, revered artist Barbara Cheshire from Townsville will be the judge and she has a reputation for being both popular and fair-minded.

The whole community are invited to browse the exhibition, which is due to be held on Saturday, 24 July at the Bowen Community Hall on Williams Street from 3pm.

Afternoon tea will be served and artists as well as art lovers from across the region will have the opportunity to connect and enjoy some authentic regional culture.

Submissions close on Friday, 23 July and entry forms are available from most community art groups, or you can email bowart55@gmail.com.

The Bowen Art Society meets every Wednesday at 9am at Queens Beach in their own art room which is opposite the Summergarden Cinema.

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A Positive Boost For Tourism Despite Victorian Lockdowns

June 4, 2021

Less than 24 hours after Queensland closed its borders to Victoria due to the recent outbreak in COVID-19, tourism leaders from across the state coincidently gathered at a ‘Conversations with Industry’ event here in the Whitsundays to discuss an action plan moving forward.

With Victorian tourists representing 50 per cent of all travellers to the Whitsundays from June until September, this halt in southern traffic meant a huge blow for local operators.

Fortunately, this industry forum, which attracted over 70 tourism operators from across the region, came at the perfect time to raise morale.

The resounding sentiment was that despite setbacks and uncertainty, the tourism industry in Queensland is fairing reasonably well, largely due to Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders and many residents choosing to enjoy a holiday within the state.

CEO of Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Leanne Coddington said that consumer confidence in the region is positive.

“What we do know is that consumer sentiment is at a 10 year high,” said Ms Coddington.

“When consumer confidence is high, then spending levels of people are high and we’re seeing that.”

Statistics show that the 9.5 million international visitors who came to Australia in 2019 spent $45 billion which is an average of $5,210 per person.

The 10 million Aussie’s travelling overseas in 2019 spent $6,520 per person but the Aussie’s travelling within their own country since the outbreak of COVID spend on average just $690 per person.

This is largely linked to the ability to have shorter holidays and with that in mind, industry leaders are focusing marketing campaigns on encouraging Aussie’s to stay longer and invest more on experiences and tours wherever they go.

Another major topic of discussion was the Whitsunday’s ability to be ‘market ready’ as soon as international borders re-open.

President of About Australia, Paul Watkins, who promotes Australia to an American audience, said that this would be one of the first markets to bounce back.

“America is emerging at an extremely rapid rate; it will become the largest source market for Australia, along with UK,” he said.

“If we bring Americans to the Whitsundays, previously they would stay for three days, which meant we could only offer them two or three experiences. I look forward to having Americans stay for 10 days, instead of three, so we can give them seven or eight experiences.”

Image: Assistant Minister for Tourism Michael Healy MP, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler, CEO of TEQ Leanne Coddington and TEQ’s Group Executive Marketing Michael Branagh at ‘Conversations with Industry’ last week

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The Mayor’s Charity Ball Approaches

June 4, 2021

The year has been shooting by and Whitsunday Regional Council 2021 Mayor’s Charity Ball at Flametree, Whitsunday Airport is fast approaching, with tickets on sale now.

Due to take place on Saturday, 28 August, the Mayor has chosen to fundraise for RACQ CQ Rescue on what should be a spectacular night of dining and entertainment.

This year, RACQ CQ Rescue are celebrating 25 years of critical, lifesaving service to visitors and residents in the Whitsunday region.

RACQ CQ Rescue is almost entirely community financed and fundraising events like this are integral for keeping the service in the air.

The black-tie event kicks off at 6pm with beer and wine included, as well as a three-course evening dinner.

Live entertainment by the 8-piece Baker Boys Band will be followed by a charity auction, with the funds from that going directly to RACQ CQ Rescue.

It’s a perfect opportunity to get along and support a great cause, as well as enjoy a spectacular night out with good company and good food.

Tickets can be purchased for $200 per person here: https://bit.ly/3ffXe7u

Image: Mayor Andrew Willcox and his family at the 2019 Mayor’s Ball

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Coral Sea Marina Welcomed To The Hall Of Fame

June 4, 2021

Coral Sea Marina has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Australian Marina Of The Year at the 2021 Club Marine Marina Industry Association Awards, which were held this week at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney.

This comes on the back of an incredible string of years for the Marina, as they won Australian Marina of the Year awards in 2017/18 and again in 2019/20, and last week, when they were awarded the Superyacht Industry Service Provider award.

“Eight years ago, when I bought Abell Point Marina - now Coral Sea Marina Resort - my vision was to create the Monaco of the South Pacific,” said Owner of Coral Sea Marina Resort, Paul Darrouzet.

“Through major investment in infrastructure and priding ourselves in outstanding service and impeccable facilities that vision has been realised. Having this recognised is a true honour.”

“Our success is only possible because of our incredible Coral Sea Marina family,” Coral Sea Marina’s CEO, Kate Purdie, said during her acceptance speech.

“We appreciate their loyalty, and we are dedicated to delivering outstanding service and facilities well into the future, to ensure we remain worthy of this award.”

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Entertainment Centre Takes Shape

June 4, 2021

The Proserpine Entertainment Centre is starting to take shape with the blockwork for the structure recently completed enabling the construction workers to move onto rendering and the installation of structural steel.

In addition, the stage area has been roofed and the service and back of house areas to the rear of the facility are underway.

By the end of the year the community can expect to see a 380-seat multi-purpose auditorium with retractable seating and large stage area.

The facilities will also include a kitchen, café, bar, ticketing area, toilets and dressing rooms.

Other features include a garden and street foyer, cinema screen, art installation, loading dock and scenery dock, technical theatre equipment, outdoor performance area and an upgrade of the War Memorial.

The Proserpine Entertainment Centre was extensively damaged during Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and the new development has been proudly funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund and Queensland Reconstruction Authority, with a current funding total of $18.8 million.

Upon completion it will bring back the region’s community hub for entertainment, celebrations and gatherings.

Over the next few months, however, drivers can expect intermittent one lane road closures between CaterQuip and the NAB bank on both sides of the street while underground electrical works, footpath and kerb works as well as landscaping takes place.

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Outdoor Movies Coming Soon To Airlie

June 4, 2021

Whitsunday Regional Council is projecting the Foreshore Movie Screen in Airlie Beach will be completed by the end of September this year.

The semi-permanent screen has been rolling onwards after positive results during local consultation in which 60 per cent of participants supported the location of the movie screen.

“A lot of people told me they didn’t bother to put in submissions, because they thought it was a no brainer; that everyone one would love it and have a great time with it!” Councillor Jan Clifford said.

The screen has been Ms Clifford’s baby for the last 18 months, and she’s been pushing to get the screen up and running, despite some difficulties along the way.

“It was part of the Works for Queensland, and everybody agreed we’d have the screen, but we’ve got logistical hurdles to jump,” she said.

Works will soon begin with a concrete slab and the installation of the 5.5 by 3 metre LED screen, which will be housed in a shipping container next to the new sound stage at the Foreshore.

The screen will be entirely retractable and can be raised to a height of approximately 20 feet from the ground, where it will show free G-rated movies or other non-commercial recreational entertainment.

“It’s going to be a community asset for the community to enjoy free of charge,” said Ms Clifford.

When not in use, the screen retracts into the shipping container, meaning the entire structure can be moved by crane and truck to another location.

The plan is for a mural to be painted on the shipping container by a local artist, to ensure the structure is appealing, rather than an eyesore.

Ms Clifford hopes that they will be able to show relatively recent kids films and in no way wants to compete with local cinemas, as the screen will be entirely free.

At the moment, Ms Clifford says that the Council has the PCYC lined up to run a film night once a month and will be calling out for other expressions of interest soon.

“I hope everybody enjoys it, because I will!” said Jan.

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Whitsunday Beauty Holds Charity Event

May 27, 2021

Miss World contestant Paris Bedford is holding a charity fundraising event at the Whitsunday Sailing Club next month ahead of the national finals in July.

Self-proclaimed ‘late-bloomer’, the Whitsunday resident started modelling in 2019 when she was 25 and now at 27, has been selected as one of only eight women to represent Queensland in the finals.

To achieve this, Paris competed against 60 others in the preliminary finals and if she is successful at the nationals on the Gold Coast, will go on to represent Australia at an international level.

“I am pretty happy about what I’ve achieved so far,” said Paris.

“In July we will stay at the Plaza Versace Resort for one week doing fitness and modelling challenges followed by the Big Finale on the Friday night.”

During the main event, Paris will introduce herself to the audience and then select a question at random to demonstrate her public speaking skills. This is followed with an evening walk in an evening gown. There is no swimsuit division in Miss World.

Paris’ charity event at the Whitsunday Sailing Club will be on June 12 from 5pm to 9pm.

All funds raised by the Miss World events go towards the children’s charity, Variety.

Tickets are $150 or you can purchase a table of eight for $1050 which works out at $130 a ticket.

During the evening there will be canapes and drinks included as well as entertainment, live auctions and raffle giveaways.

“The event is timed for sunset drinks and there will be a red carpet and fairy lights,” said Paris.

Tickets are on sale now and available from Whitsunday Tickets.

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‘Come Together’ In Beatles Song Writing Contest For Airlie Beach Festival

May 27, 2021

Airlie Beach Festival of Music has joined the search for a John-Lennon-inspired song in the ‘Liverpool International Song For Kindness’ contest, in memory of Lennon’s message “be as one”.

The contest was launched with collaboration of the organisation tuff.earth, members of Liverpool City Council, The Cavern Club, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), and the Salvation Army run ‘Strawberry Field’, to collaborate in memory of John Lennon.

Airlie Beach Festival of Music has joined the competition which invites aspiring and established songwriters to submit their original songs of kindness and optimism via the website tuffm.com.

The competition is open for just 12 weeks, closing on the 50-year anniversary of the recording of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, on July 31.

“Imagine… writing that winning song and getting to play it not just here in paradise, but at the home of The Beatles as well,” Mr Butlin said.

“To quote John Lennon, perhaps ‘it’s easy if you try’, so start writing and good luck!”

The winner will be announced by the mayors of Liverpool and New York on October 9, and then flown to Liverpool to play at The Cavern Club before having their winning song professionally produced, mixed and mastered by TUFF Music at Liverpool’s iconic Motor Museum studio.

Image: Members of the Airlie Beach Festival of Music committee impersonating the famous ‘Beatles’ walk

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ABC Distillery, Gin, Vodka and Rum, Oh My!

May 27, 2021

IN the winter of 2018, when brother and sister Mark Jordan and Sandra Argo asked the question, ‘why isn’t there a distillery in the Whitsunday?’ the ball started rolling and ABC Distillery was born.

Over the past two and a half years, the two have gone on the journey of perfecting their Australian, Award winning tropical flavoured gin.

Mark had moved up from Victoria, where he worked on vineyards, and realised that crafting boutique spirits was the perfect thing to keep himself busy during semi-retirement.

Now, Mark works 16-hour days keeping Rhonda, his Portuguese Copper Alquitar still, working hard as he produces 5 dozen bottles of gin, vodka, and dark rum a week.

ABC has moved fast in its two years, with retail outlets and bars snapping up their aqua vitae, like Banjo’s, Beaches Airlie, Breeze Bar, Fish D’Vine Rum Bar, and the Reef Gateway Hotel all serving ABCs array of craft spirits.

ABC Hand deliver their drinks if you live local and buy from their online store, which has sent packages all the way up to Townsville, as well as all the way down to Melbourne, Victoria.

They had their first day at Market last weekend on a wet and windy day and will be popping up each Sunday to sell their Tropical Gin, Gecko Gold, Ginger Gin, Tropical Vodka, Barrel Rum and the new Whitsunday White.

Don’t miss out on their Cocktails of the Month posted on their website for some delicious combinations.

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Bowen Bluster A Huge Success

May 20, 2021

Ukulele fans from across the country gathered at the Inaugural Bowen Bluster held at the newly upgraded Bowen Showgrounds over the May long weekend.

Over 70 ukulele players joined together for a weekend of music, laughter and song and organiser Jan Knight said that it proved so popular they are considering making it an annual event.

“It was a fabulous success, there was lots of ukulele playing, singing, eating, playing and trips to town to check out Bowen,” she said.

“We had groups from Townsville, Mackay and a small contingent from Tasmania attend.”

The weekend started with a welcome meet and greet on the Friday followed by a series of workshops on the Saturday and an open mic session that evening.

On the Sunday the 70-strong group performed at the Bowen Markets before heading to the Larrikin Hotel for a relaxing lunch.

Mayor Andrew Willcox also attended and took the time to chat with all the participants.

Anyone interested in joining the Bowen Ukulele Group Strummers (BUGS) is welcome to come along to their weekly gatherings which are held at the CWA Hall every Wednesday between 5-7pm at a membership cost of $4 per session.

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Editor's Note (issue 42)

May 20, 2021

Hi Everyone,

Life is full of opposites – don’t you think?

We all wear so many different hats and I experienced this first-hand last weekend.

On the Saturday evening I was dressed in a golden dinner gown attending the Mayors Ball in Mackay, then on the Sunday afternoon I was dressed as Super Girl at my four-year-old son’s Superhero birthday party – the two roles couldn’t have been more different and it was a blast!

Life is also full of other opposite roles and none more prevalent than the highs and lows of happiness and sadness, a subject we touch-on in a few different articles dotted throughout the newspaper this week.

Many people in our community live with depression and experience suicidal thoughts – during this time it is often the people who are closest that can help most.

This is what makes the one-day intervention training workshop run in both Cannonvale and Proserpine this weekend such an amazing tool for us.

An initiative of Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network, this workshop is free for everyone and it will give participants an insight into how they can actively help their loved ones.

If you would like to attend, simply text the word CORES to 0408 544 558 and you will receive all the details.

We never know when we are going to be called on to be perform that opposite role. Our loved ones need fun and friendship from us but sometimes they may also need counsel and support – let’s make sure we are all equipped to do both.

Rach

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Bringing You Total Entertainment

May 14, 2021

A host of new events and entertainment offerings are about to launch in the Whitsundays thanks to Total Entertainment, who are bringing a range of unique events to the region.

Owners Dylan Hammond and Lotty De have now teamed up with local event management expert Caitlin McLuskey to harness years of combined experience in the entertainment industry by creating events not before seen in our area.

Caitlin now joins Aliana Tabone (Melbourne), Nick Di Gregorio (Hamilton Island), Simon Briley, Heather Batrick and Ash Smith (Airlie Beach) to comprise the eight-strong team.

The company recently collaborated with the team from Champion Crewing and Concierge for an event in Melbourne onboard the largest superyacht currently in Australia.

This collaboration has inspired the company who recognise a huge gap in the market for different types of events here in the Whitsundays, not just for superyachts but a wide variety, including family festivals, concerts and concept events.

“We want to bring entertainment to the region that engages a range of different demographics,” said Lotty.

“At the moment there’s not much in the way of electronic music or dance for example, also, there is not a lot of musical or interactive entertainment for children and families, or musical theatre and classical.”

Total Entertainment are also now working with private venues on the mainland to create small bespoke events as well as larger venues where they are looking to hold larger community gatherings.

Dylan said they have some incredible events planned for Airlie Beach in the near future, which he is excited to announce soon.

“The Whitsundays will be renowned as a hub for world-class entertainment set alongside the backdrop of paradise,” he said.

Caitlin agreed, saying that the company are thrilled to be a part of something that will drive visitation to our region and see the whole community benefit.

“From accommodation providers to tour operators and of course the hospitality industry,” she said.

“We are really hoping to create events that will entice people from all over Australia to visit the Whitsundays for that unique experience that they won’t find anywhere else in the country”

Not only will Total Entertainment be focusing on the music at events, they will also be providing a host of unique performances. From stilt walkers to contortionists, balloon artists to children’s entertainers, pantomimes and more.

With this team behind the scenes, there is a whole new wave of culture coming to the Whitsundays – a culture of Total Entertainment.

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THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

May 14, 2021

For the past twelve months, Covid restrictions have meant that we have been starved of opportunities to attend musical theatre, concerts and the like. So it was wonderful to be treated to two high school musicals over the past two weeks - “Mary Poppins” (St Catherine’s Catholic College) and “We Will Rock You” (Proserpine State High School).

But a love of such musical entertainment in our community dates back more than a century.

In the time before radio and television, and when gramophones and records were very basic and quite expensive, residents yearned for entertainment outside the home. Occasionally, travelling vaudeville groups and pantomime companies visited the town, mostly in winter months, but the majority of “live” musical entertainment had its roots within the community itself.

The Proserpine Citizens’ Band, formed in 1910, performed for delighted crowds throughout the district, playing at many functions and civic occasions as it still does today, 110 years later.

From very early days, concerts were staged in the Tivoli Hall (otherwise known as the Oddfellow’s Hall). Every church or community group needing to raise money would organise a concert which also provided a social outlet. Children’s concerts were especially popular. One such concert in aid of the Church of England was not only played in the church hall but also went “on the road” to the Banana Pocket Hall. Another concert, held in the shelter shed at Gunyarra on September 3 1924 by the Banana Pocket Sub-Branch of the CWA, typifies the period. Items on the programme included “How do you like to be a baby girl” performed by four little Proserpine girls; “Dirty Face”, a recitation by Mrs Munro and “The Policeman and Susanna”, a duet by Mrs Perroux and Mr Walmsley.  

In the 1920s, the town boasted an excellent theatrical society. An active amateur group, the Proserpine Costume Comedy Company, presented plays such as “The Elopement of Ellen” and “A Prince of Lies”. Scenes from the then popular “Choo Chin Chow” and “The Arcadians”, as well as songs from the war years, were also performed for appreciative audiences. A talented music teacher, Miss Waldron, directed numerous productions as well as providing piano accompaniment and Mr R J Walke, the headmaster of the state school, also produced some of these shows.

In 1923, a group calling itself the Proserpine Musicians and Vaudeville Club gave occasional performances and according to their advertisements, their repertoire included “Vocal, Musical and Instrumental Items, Novelty Instrument Items and Comic Songs.”

There appears to have been no shortage of amateur performers and, judging from the advertisements for piano teachers in the “Proserpine Guardian”, neither was there a shortage of keen musicians.

By the mid1920s, changes in the entertainment industry were afoot. The completion of the railway line between Mackay and Proserpine in December 1923, brought with it a constant flow of travelling shows ranging from full scale musical comedies such as “No, No Nanette” to the “World Famous Ladies Kilty Band”.

But while professional shows became increasingly available, homegrown entertainment continued to provide an outlet for lovers of musical theatre both as aspiring performers or enthusiastic audiences.

Story and photo courtesy of Proserpine Historical Museum

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Local Girl Issy Burnup Takes Off

May 7, 2021

Local girl Issy Burnup has taken the leap into singer-songwriter territory, announcing the release of her first single ‘When’s Take Off’ on May 5.

Born in Airlie Beach, Issy moved away to study at JMC Academy, one of Australia’s leading creative industry colleges.

“I graduated at the end of last year and I’m all educated; or as educated as you can be! From that I decided to do some recording and release my first single,” Issy said.

When’s Take Off is Issy’s first full song release, with another single and a full EP planned for the release later in the year.

“I recorded down in Sydney with my producer Matt Fell; I spent a week, and it was great recording all the songs,” she said.

The single was written a couple of years ago after a fun night down in Brisbane when inspiration struck.

“I wrote it when I was coming back from Fortitude Valley one night. The characters you see late at night down at the Valley; I saw this one woman who was totally dressed in black,” said Issy.

“She was standing in the middle of the street, doing her own thing – so I went home and wrote a song for her.

“It was a really fun time to see the song develop from when I wrote it on the acoustic guitar, to taking it to a band, to taking it on to a producer.”

You can find Where’s Take Off on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music from May 5.

Caption: Issy Burnup’s New Single

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Prossie School Musical This Weekend

May 7, 2021

The Proserpine State High School’s musical production “We will Rock You” already impressed the audience at the first performance but you still have the chance to see the show this weekend.

The cast of 70 performed at the schools new performing arts building on Thursday night and there will be another show tonight (Friday, May 7) and then matinee and evening productions tomorrow, Saturday May 8.

This production is based on the music of iconic rock band Queen and it includes more than 24 of their greatest hit songs.

The story takes place in a future age on a planet once called Earth that is now controlled by a mighty corporation.

Rock music is unheard of and all musical instruments are banned.

The hope of breaking free rests with an unlikely resistance – an alliance of rebel bohemians.

Artistic Director Jenny Napier has been working with productions at the school for about 30 years and described this one as an “absolute cracker”.

Tickets for this weekend’s shows are available at whitsundaytickets.com.au

Caption: We Will Rock You performed by students of Proserpine State High School

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Meet The Man Behind The Bar

May 7, 2021

Meet The Man Behind The Bar

Known as Rowley by many, Matthew Rowley is a familiar face on the Airlie Beach social scene, having worked security in the area for over 20 years.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Rowley moved to Australia when he was seven and has recently stepped into a new position as manager of Airlie’s newest venue, The Bar.

Not only can Rowley be found down at Airlie Beach Hotel’s new sports bar, he can also be seen on a lot of promotional material which, has become so popular, he is now known as the ‘face’ of The Bar.

With 29 TV screens as well as three big screens all showing sport, this new venue has proved popular with sports fans everywhere.

Tell us what’s behind The Bar?

I love a good handle! And they are very popular with our old school customers who like an original beer in a traditional drinking vessel. We serve Resch’s in classic beer steins which have become a fantastic seller.

We also have a range of CUB products on tap – Great Northern, Super Crisp, Carlton Draft and VB as well as XXXX Gold. There are not many places you can get all these on tap any more.

Each month we have five different spirits that go on special and we offer free tasting on them. It gives people the chance to try something they wouldn’t normally try and, who knows, they might find their new favourite drink!

Caption: Airlie Beach Hotel’s ‘The Bar’ Manager Matthew Rowley

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Chisel Revived At The Pub This ANZAC Day

April 16, 2021

Cold Chisel and Jimmy Barnes tribute band Chisel Revived are set to feature this ANZAC Day at the Airlie Beach hotel.

The tribute band are seasoned performers, with hundreds of shows all over Australia and 10 years of experience behind them.

Front man Tim Carter is a talented singer in his own right, supported by world-class musicians and a backlog of exceptional songs.

The show is entirely free and begins at 2pm on Sunday, 25 April as part of the Airlie Beach Hotel’s ANZAC Day special event.

With a slew of anti-war songs, as well as uniquely Australian sounds, Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel are perfect accompaniments to Anzac Day.

The group have a reverence for Cold Chisel and Barnes, bringing their classic and unique sounds back to venues all around Australia to rave reviews.

A faithful reproduction of classic Cold Chisel and Barnes shows, featuring favourites like Khe Sanh, Choir Girl, Cheap Wine and Barnes solo hits from Working-Class Man to Ride the Night Away.

A tribute to iconic Australian bands in a memorable show is the perfect way to spend the ANZAC Day afternoon.

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