IT WAS a truly spectacular weekend of festivities, as thousands of locals and tourists celebrated the Great Barrier Reef Festival, in Airlie Beach.
The four-day event was an eventful combination of family fun activities, reef focused environmental and art initiatives, exciting rides, local food and culture, and some of the biggest beach parties in the region, with headlining acts Reece Mastin and Sun Salute stealing the show.
Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival chairperson Margie Murphy said this year’s festival was incredibly successful.
“We are so thankful to all our sponsors, our incredible volunteers and to all the people who came to enjoy the festival this year; we couldn’t do it without you! We’re looking forward to the 2024 Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival,” Ms Murphy said.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Rick Hamilton congratulated the Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival committee on another successful festival.
“This weekend was months in the making, and the outcome was the fantastic festival we all got to enjoy. Well done to the committee and volunteers who brought the reef to life for locals and visitors to enjoy,” Mr Hamilton said.
The unique festival included a Reef Experience with Master Reef Guides, which took visitors on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Great Barrier Reef.
On display was the immerse art installation, which was created from recycled material and was on display in Fairy Tree Park, along with a life-size humpback whale and calf.
The fun began on Thursday evening with Immersive Reef Stories, at Coral Sea Marina Resort, followed by an art exhibition on Friday morning.
Friday night saw an incredible line-up of live music, the Coral Sea Marina Lantern Parade, and a breathtaking fireworks display on the Airlie Beach Foreshore – which some festival-goers got to witness from Cruise Whitsundays’ sunset sailboat, The Camira.
The night was completed with night markets, food stalls, carnival rides and street performers.
Saturday was an unforgettable day of fun, art, music, and more rides, as the sun decided to shine for the Fraser Ford ‘Revvin the Reef’ Car Show and the Rotary Airlie Beach and Ray White Whitsunday Street Parade, which saw Airlie Beach hospitality businesses, schools, not-for-profit groups and tourism operators march down Main Street with incredible artwork and fun costumes.
Into the night, ‘Beats on the Beach’, sponsored by Mountain Goat Beer, held a pop-up bar, eat street and live music with Sun Salute, The Wild Sky, Flying Double Front Kick and Mish N Possible performing.
Wrapping things up for festival-goers, and to slow things down on the Sunday, were One Agency’s Team Kerr Family Fun Day, the Fish D’vine ‘Bait to Plate’, and a ‘Chill in the Park’ session accompanied by a full line-up of talented artists performing reggae, folk, rock and jazz.
Photo Amy Roulston.