Lost and Found at Horizon Festival

Image source: Contributed

The sun may have set on Horizon Festival, but plans are already underway for next year’s program with the launch of Homegrown: The Forgotten Coast. Georgia Beard reminisces on the festival that was and reveals the fun to come.

On the banks of Stumers Creek Coolum in the early hours of an October morning, people gathered to watch the sun peek over the horizon – an emerging, moving backdrop for the voices of Kabi Kabi and Jinibara peoples. 

Dawn Awakening marked the official end of Horizon Festival 2022 through indigenous ceremony and storytelling. Spoken word, song, dance, visual art projections and fire installations called us to reflect on and strengthen our connection to country, culture and each other. 

This connection flourished amid Horizon Festival’s activations of visual art, music, dance, theatre, film and imagination. We’re still lingering in the glow of awe-inspiring and thought-provoking performances, exhibitions and workshops, unleashed by artists across the Sunshine Coast.

From the highly anticipated to the absurd, Horizon Festival’s ten-day program staged acts the likes of which the region had never experienced before. 

We disappeared into the magical depths of Wonderland Spiegeltent to witness palpitation-inducing acrobatics from Circa’s Peepshow, dazzling cabaret and comedy from Steven Oliver and electrifying sounds from Kate Ceberano – all seeking to delight, disrupt and transform. 

We watched The Sinkers, Sunshine Coast’s most underwhelming synchronised swimming club, plunge into Cotton Tree Beach, connecting impromptu swimmers (or sinkers) from all walks of life.

We followed strangers in inflatable orange suits as they sunbathed on the sand, perused local stores and generally loitered about for Looks Like A Tourist, challenging the romanticism of tourism with the complexities of visiting an unfamiliar place. 

By the time the sun rose at Dawn Awakening, Horizon Festival had drawn more than 21,000 visitors over 25 locations and 52 events. 

The creative industries are certainly wide awake and thriving and while Horizon Festival 2022 is disappearing below the horizon to rest, reminisce
and dream for now, plans for Horizon Festival 2023 are already taking shape. 

Returning on Friday 25 August to Sunday 3 September 2023, we can expect this contemporary multi-arts festival to reach further, search deeper and glow brighter than ever before. 

In fact, the Horizon Festival team is already stepping out into the unknown. 

Their 2023 program, Homegrown: The Forgotten Coast, is seeking projects that uncover forgotten – or invisible – places on the Sunshine Coast and bring them to life.

A local hall; a motel that’s been vacant for years; a laundromat; even a hidden outdoor space. If you know where to look, our region is strewn with locations, once embedded in their communities and now lying by the wayside. 

Shrouded in the Dularcha National Park, a historic railway tunnel built in 1891 now belongs to bushwalkers, birdwatchers and a roost of myotis bats. 

Near Tanawha Tourist Drive, the abandoned Super Bee Honey Factory slumps with age and neglect after a recent fire. 

On the outskirts of Montville, the Dome, once housing an art gallery, café and model railway, only makes room for overgrown foliage. 

Places like these have escaped the public consciousness. Now, as part of Homegrown, artists are encouraged to redirect their gaze from the impressive and the innovative to the derelict, the unassuming, the empty. 

Once they recognise the old amongst the new, these artists abandon their perceptions of space and respond by pushing the boundaries of their creative practices. Whether they specialise in visual arts, dance, theatre, music or interdisciplinary artforms, the aim is to make these places memorable again. 

Applications for Homegrown: The Forgotten Coast closed in early December with a total of three projects to be selected and presented as part of Horizon Festival 2023, with the successful applicants receiving mentorship from an inspirational artist of the applicant’s choice!

As Horizon Festival urges us to get lost, our local communities will find each other once again, drawn together by the artistic, the performative and the profound. 

We can’t wait to see what’s on the Horizon for 2023! Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know www.horizonfestival.com.au

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