Discover your creative soul at the 2019 Horizon Festival

29 Jul 2019

Showcasing an impressive range of local, national and international talent, the Sunshine Coast comes alive in August, celebrating its creative soul at the annual Horizon Festival.

The Sunshine Coast comes alive every winter, celebrating its creative soul at the annual Horizon Festival running from 23 August to 1 September. This not-to-be-missed 10-day event showcases performances, films, art works and hands-on workshops, from an impressive range of local, national and international talent all over the Sunshine Coast.

We’ve packed the very best of the Horizon Festival into a weekend itinerary to help you experience the spellbinding artistry and stunning exhibits on show at the festival, while also enjoying the endless sunshine and unique beach vibes the Coast is famous for.

Pre-festival prep

So, you’ve successfully sucked up to the boss all week and managed to score yourself an early Friday arvo knock-off. Well good for you! Without further ado, let’s get your Friday night kicked off in style.

Evenings on the coast are best started out downing a cool bevvie and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the eclectic bars or cafes at Ocean Street in Maroochydore. Hungry? Choose from Asian street food at Junk, funky retro-style burgers at Hello Harry, or fancy-pants cocktails and seafood-inspired share plates at the Kiki Bar. For other mouth-drooling options, check out The Best Bars and Restaurants in Mooloolaba.

And now for tonight’s main event!

This year’s Horizon Festival features Festival Central, an epic creative hub located in the new Maroochydore City Centre. With film projections, live music, aerial performances, art installations and pop-up art galleries, this is the place to be… and be seen!

From 6pm the rich diversity of the Sunshine Coast is on show in the large-scale photographic film, Our People, Our Place. Witness stories of self-discovery and community passion in this unique combination of portraiture, projection and sound.

Lay back and have your senses evoked by the dramatic, uplifting sounds of Nocturne. Celebrating the romance and grandeur of the night sky, classical music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and talented Australian composers, is performed under a canopy of stars by some of the Coast’s best orchestral musicians and opera singers.

Time to rest that pretty head

You’re going to thank us in the morning for giving you the tip on this one! For the best bed deals in the best beach locations, check out Mantra’s Stay & Save offers. Our suggestions are the Mantra Sirocco, Mantra Zanzibar and Mantra Mooloolaba Beach - all ideally positioned right opposite Mooloolaba’s famous surf beach. Or book a stay overlooking the beautiful Alexandra Headland beach at the Grand Palais Beachside Resort - just metres from the beach!


Rise and shine Sunshine!

For the quintessential Sunshine Coast experience, and a healthy dose of vitamin sea, grab brekkie overlooking the beach at the iconic Mooloolaba Surf Club.  If you’d prefer to kick start your day with a fresh brew of 100% speciality grade house-roasted Colombian coffee, check out La Finca in The Wharf Mooloolaba. If people watching is more your style, enjoy your breakfast Italian-style at Augello’s Espresso Bar on the Mooloolaba Esplanade.

Experience the Elements

Stop number one on today’s festival itinerary is the Elements exhibition at the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens. Be taken on a sensory journey as you wander through this contemporary outdoor gallery of artworks and installations inspired by the natural elements of earth, fire, air and water. Maybe even try your hand at one of the curated artist workshops.

Remember rockabilly and hot rods?

Rick’s Garage in Palmwoods is the perfect place to stop for lunch and take a step back in time to the days rockabilly and hot rods ruled. Formerly a two-pump garage and automotive workshop, this little gem is packed full of memorabilia, boasts an impressive whisky bar, and is home the coast’s juiciest ribs and burgers.

Augment your reality

Combining animation and augmented reality play, [In]Place is an interactive art trail that explores the fluid nature of our environment. Simply download the Eye Jack App and follow the art trail through the city streets, starting at The Old Ambo, to find the five mind-altering works.

A secret performance about punk rock?

With a seriously wacky storyline, The Cold Record is a one-man show about a 12-year-old boy who falls hopelessly in love with his school nurse AND punk rock. This insightful and inventively witty play makes its Australian premiere at this year’s Horizon Festival and is tipped to receive rave reviews. Tip: Book your tickets for the 2pm show at the Blackbox Theatre in advance.

Discover treasures from times past

Undeniably the hub for the Coast’s vintage and retro scene, Nambour is packed with op shops, collectable stores, retro boutiques and repurposed furniture businesses. It’s a treasure hunter’s sweetest dream. Grab a copy of the Vintage & Retro Trail Guide and GO if finding a bargain is on your list of “must always do’s”!

Explore the majestic hinterland

Let the magic wash over you as you drive through the magnificent rocky outcrops and ancient volcanic peaks of the iconic Glass House Mountains on the next leg of your journey. If you have time, stop and explore the unique art galleries and studios in Montville and Maleny; the spiritual home to the Coast’s thriving art scene.

Witness A Galaxy of Suns

End your day of discovery with a breath-taking performance that brings together contemporary art, music, astronomy and design. A Galaxy of Suns, making its Queensland premiere at this year’s festival, uses smart device technology to creatively translate cosmic parameters into rhythm, pitch, volume, colour and light intensity; celebrating the beauty and wonder of the stars. Tip: Buy your tickets in advance and remember to pack a cosy blanket and some mozzie spray!

Gourmet fare and a good glass anyone?

Holidaying in the heart of Mooloolaba certainly has its advantages when it comes time to indulge in some award-winning cuisine. Backlane Tapas & Wine Bar pairs an impressive wine and cocktail list with an eclectic modern Mediterranean tapas menu. Spice Bar, with its spectacular ocean views, offers delicious Asian-fusion cuisine, and is a must-do fine dining experience. 

Gourmet Traveller Magazine described the Spirit House Restaurant as 'a tropical film set that takes your breath away. Like the setting, the Thai inspired cuisine is breathtaking.’ This alone makes it well worth a visit for lunch or dinner during your stay.


The way Sundays are best spent...

When the trippers on TripAdvisor vote Sunshine Coast beaches in the Top 25 each year, you know they must be top notch! So why not start your Sunday stretching your legs and scoping out the shore breaks along Caloundra’s spectacular coastal walk.

Start at Moffat Beach and head south over the headland. Along the way you’ll pass by the famous rolling surf at Kings Beach. Keep your phone handy – there are some seriously Instagram-worthy views of the crystal-clear azure waters of the Pumicestone Passage at beautiful Bulcock Beach.  Head back to Moffats and grab your morning caffeine kick at Pocket Espresso Bar. Now RELAX … and enjoy the laidback beach vibe!

Award-winning art

Before heading back to Festival Central, visit the Caloundra Regional Gallery. Treat your eyes to award-winning 2D contemporary artwork at the Sunshine Coast Art Prize exhibition, featuring entries from local, national and international artists including past Archibald prize winner Fiona Lowry. Don’t miss your chance to see one of Australia most dynamic and prestigious visual arts presentations.

Live and local

We can’t think of a better way to finish up a long weekend of cultural festivities than to kick back with a cold brew from one of the Coast’s best microbreweries and enjoy a chilled-out Sunday arvo session. Served up with a selection of locally-sourced lunch plates, six local musos keep the good times rollin’ across the weekend in Live & Local Sundays.

Before you leave Festival Central, take a peek inside the TQ Capsule. This funky, temporary container exhibition, curated by Brisbane’s Third Quarter art gallery, features contemporary art pieces, clothing, publications and prints, available for you to purchase – a keepsake to remind you of a truly memorable weekend on the spectacular Sunshine Coast!