Seaside Utopia Comes Alive With Arts Festival

Lorne Festival of ArtsIn a lovely town called Lorne, set against a stunning coastal backdrop where the shoreline laps at Victoria, the streets are about to come alive for three days and three nights from Friday 29 – Sunday 31 August with a host of legendary arts and music events during the 4th Annual Lorne Festival of Performing Arts.

With over 3000 people expected to bathe in the lights and magic of this exciting festival by the sea, Lorne Festival of Performing Arts will host some of Australia’s best cabaret, sideshow, circus, theatre, comedy, visual art and music events, as well as a whole horde of free outdoor street performance for kids and families.

“In 2014 we aim to deliver the extraordinary,” says Festival Artistic Director, Monique Harvey.

“This August we have a spectacular program of artists presenting intimate music pieces in iconic Lorne locations, shocking sideshow, high­energy calypso dance music, thought-­provoking theatre, genre-­busting burlesque, side splitting comedy, high octane circus, street performances and loads of stuff for the kids.”

Kicking off in fine form with the Opening Night Spectacular in the Circus Oz Big Top, a smorgasbord of bite-sized tasty morsels showcasing just about everything that is on offer throughout the weekend including DJs, burlesque, theatre, music, and circus all crammed into one big spectacular opening night to pop the champagne cork on the 2014 Festival.

Coming out from behind the cabaret curtain this year are two critically acclaimed, genre-­busting stage works from Moira Finucane. The Feast of La Gypsy Argentina sees her delve into the realms of her trademark rapacious and sensuous storytelling, and Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box sees the globally-­acclaimed performer in a subversive spectacle of wild-­child circus and live art exotica.

In a stunning stage extravaganza (not for the faint hearted) at the Festival Tent, League of Sideshow Superstars also sees four of Australia’s elite sideshow artists including Shep Huntly, Tigerlil, Ariel Manx and Great Gordo Gamsby perform mind-­blowing feats of skill and daring.

Treading the music floorboards for 2014 are a number of top-­notch acts from very near and very far. Charismatic powerhouse singer Mikelangelo pulls off a deep and beautiful vocal trifecta in Cave, Waits & Cohen; while the Mighty Duke & The Lords will whip up a tropical evening of calypso dance rhythms; and Spanish flamenco guitarists Sergio Ercole and Valentino Gikovsky present a night of Latin masterpieces;

Melbourne’s The Little Stevies ride into town for what will be an unforgettable session of their folk-­influenced pop harmonies; as South Carolina’s country music aficionados the Dan Waters Duo bring a swag of wry humour and moving songs; and Mzaza bring their sultry multilingual vocals matched with sounds and rhythms from faraway places.

The Grand Magoozi (aka Susie Scurry) joins Glen Walton for some witty and Patsy-­Cline-­esque poetic songs and sounds; and of course the tunes of UK’s DJ Lornegerie will spice up the night at the Cuda Bar Festival Club with a mixture of swing, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, soul and more from 11.30pm til even later on Friday and Saturday night.

Something the whole family can enjoy, Squaring the Wheel is a show that forges the extraordinary talents of performer Jens Altheimer – circus, theatre, puppetry, magic and ‘ingenious collector of thingummybobs’ – together into a show full of topsy-­turvy ways to look at a pile of junk, as well as a kids workshop to follow.

There’s also the high energy slapstick, acrobatics and stunt-­work of the Trash Test Dummies, the local rock choir Orchestral Moves in the Marsh, as well as the VCAL Street Art Project  where live street art and local teen student DJs take over a public space alongside acclaimed Melbourne street artist RIST.

Theatre lovers will be keen to see acclaimed Malthouse Theatre production of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, an incredibly unique experience where performer Iris Walsh-­Howling takes the stage to perform a frank and unnerving story of human freedom by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour – an audacious theatre experiment and a once in a lifetime theatre experience.

Keeping to the theme of unusual theatre experiences, Kate McLennan and Wes Snelling perform Standard Double, a one-­hour comedy show staged entirely inside a hotel room, taking a fly-­on-­the-­wall look at people misbehaving when they’re away from home.

Things on the street that won’t cost even one pretty penny include the improvised antics of Festival Spruiker Justin Sane; the suave patter and unfeasible dance moves of Gramophone Man, with the world’s only ‘Steam-­Powered’ mobile Gramophone Contraption; Australia’s first youth national circus the Flying Fruit Fly Circus; the knife-­juggling, 10-­foot unicycling Simon Wright; and street comedy from Jack Coleman and Jamie Bretman all weekend.

“We urge everyone to come along early, soak up the atmosphere and savour our outdoor Winter Garden with delicious food on offer from our onsite Cantina and liquid refreshments from our pop up bars. Lorne is a magnificent location where families and friendship groups will be delighted, inspired and amazed by the myriad wonderful performances on offer,” says Harvey.

This year’s Lorne Festival of Performing Arts will bring the whole town to life like no other time of year, spreading the arty love across venues including the Circus Oz Festival Tent, the Grand Pacific Ballroom, Lorne Theatre, Lorne Aquatic and Angler’s Club, Frangos & Frangos, Shell’s Café, The Ovenhouse, Cuda Bar, Mantra Lorne, Cumberland Lorne Resort and of course spilling out into the streets.

The 4th Annual Lorne Festival of Performing Arts runs Friday 29 – Sunday 31 August. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of Lorne Festival of Performing Arts