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From August 24 to September 2, the Sunshine Coast will be treated to more than 150 beautiful, magical, entertaining and thought-provoking events and exhibitions as the third annual Horizon Festival gets underway.
Award-winning milliner Melanie Jeffers will host flower crown and headpiece workshops


Broaden your horizons

From August 24 to September 2, the Sunshine Coast will be treated to more than 150 beautiful, magical, entertaining and thought-provoking events and exhibitions as the third annual Horizon Festival gets underway.

The courtyard at Pam Walpole’s home is filled with thousands of plastic milk containers – a complete contradiction to the ethos and lifestyle of the artist and self-confessed environmentalist.

But you may start to see more anomalies like this around the region as creatives prepare for the upcoming Horizon Festival.

The Sunshine Beach resident is teaming up with her neighbour and fellow artist Yanni Van Zejl to create an awe-inspiring and educational art installation – the Green House.

The pair will construct a three-by-six-metre Monopoly-style house clad in single-use plastic bottles, which they have had to collect, wash and cut by hand.

The Green House will also feature ocean-inspired images and bushland shapes made from translucent recycled plastic.

In the evening, the piece will be transformed with colour and immersive light from a projection display created by Mic Black and Brian Keayes.

Ms Van Zejl says the piece is a commentary on plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and creates a role reversal for visitors as they transform from being plastic consumers while standing outside the art piece, to becoming consumed by plastic as they enter the structure.

“It is another way to demonstrate the impact plastic is having on both the land and the ocean,” she says.

The duo is responsible for several large-scale guerrilla artworks that have popped up around the Noosa Shire in the last couple of years.

While these works have had a limited lifespan, usually being photographed and immediately disassembled, the commissioned Green House will remain at the University of the Sunshine Coast for the entire 10-day festival from August 24 to September 2.

The full program for the festival will be released on July 13 and promises to build on the success of the previous two years, which has seen the festival quickly establish itself as a premiere platform for creatives to showcase their art to audiences who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience their work.

In its inaugural year, the festival engaged 35,000 people over the 10 days and last year this swelled to just under 60,000 as more than 200 events came to life.

This year is gearing up to be just as popular. Festival organisers released sneak peeks into the extensive 2018 program last month and some of the previewed workshops have already come close to selling out, prompting extra positions to be added.

Arts Portfolio councillor Rick Baberowski says this year’s program includes an increased range of artistic and unique events, with more than 150 performances, exhibitions, workshops and events covering visual art, music, film, dance, comedy, immersive technologies, events for families, hands-on workshops, art on the beach and more.

“Now in its third year, Horizon Festival has quickly grown to become the signature multi-arts festival for our region,” Cr Baberowski says.

“This year we have taken a more curatorial approach to the festival programming, collaborating with the local arts community to present an array of events inspired by art, technology, our natural environment, Indigenous arts, spoken word, pop culture and more.

“It’s going to be another impressive celebration of arts and culture right across the region.”

Horizon director Zohar Spatz, who took over the reigns last month, says the festival is “as diverse as the community” and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Ms Spatz has a distinguished career as a multi-disciplinary arts producer and has been based in Brisbane for the past seven years, most recently as the executive producer of the Australian Performing Arts Market, which is the country’s leading internationally focused industry event for contemporary performing arts.

She says the Sunshine Coast has steadily built a reputation for delivering “some of the most remarkable arts and cultural events for many years”.

“I started off in Woodford at The Dreaming 15 years ago and when you think about the enormous community of makers and talent here on the Coast, it’s no wonder the industry thrives here,” she says.

“I think what’s super special about the Sunny Coast is it does arts its own way, by celebrating the natural environment and landscape. There are going to be some really unique experiences on offer for the local community during Horizon in both ticketed and free events.”

Ms Spatz says the cinema program, held at the Majestic Theatre in Nambour and the Big Screen Cinemas in Caloundra, will see several films screened across the 10 days, including the controversial new film Terror Nullius, which recently debuted in Sydney.

“We also have an incredible contemporary music program featuring Thelma Plumb and Regurgitator and ex-hockey Olympian Nova Peris will present her new book at a library talk and share her incredible Australian story,” she says.

Cosplay will feature in the festival for the first time, with the Manafest pop culture event taking over Nambour’s C-Square on August 25 from 1pm to 5pm with live performances, walk-through exhibitions and Japanese anime screenings as well as the opportunity to enter a Cosplay competition.

“One of the things I love about this festival, and what I am starting to truly appreciate, is the sheer volume of workshops,” Ms Spatz says.

Renowned milliner and talented costume designer Melanie Jeffers will be hosting two workshops during the festival, giving people the chance to learn how to create flower crowns and headpieces.

Ms Jeffers will also team up with her choreographer sister Melissa Lanham to present Femininus, a visually stunning interpretation of Jungian psychology’s seven feminine archetypes that prevail in contemporary society today – the mother, the maiden, the queen, the huntress, the wise woman, sage and the lover.

The archetypes will come to life through dance in an interactive performance at the Arts and Ecology Centre in Tanawha, with the fashion-forward costumes exhibited at the centre from August 25 to 27.

The wearable art is the culmination of many hours of intensive work, with the bustle and breathtaking wings for the queen archetype taking three weeks to create and a further 40 hours of work on the headpiece.

Despite the amount of time already invested in the show and exhibition, Ms Jeffers says she did not hesitate to add workshops to the schedule.

“I think it’s important to impart some sort of knowledge and I love millinery. I started learning from my Nanna at a young age, so if I can use my skills to bring people together and to create something special, they can walk away with something that they have created themselves and some new skills,” she says.

Ms Lanham, who showcased her production Vincent during Horizon last year, says the festival has become a cornerstone for the creative industries on the Sunshine Coast.

“It is extremely important because the festival opens up a plethora of different art forms to the community that they would never have otherwise seen,” she says.

“It is a great advocate for the arts and how important arts is within the community as well as giving us exposure to art enthusiasts from other regions around the country.”

Ms Spatz says the festival will be one of the many events that will benefit from the council’s first Arts Plan.

“What I’m really excited about is the visionary opportunity that the Sunshine Coast Council and all of their allies are pulling together in the form of an incredible 20-year strategy,” she says.

“It feels like the festival, and the wider industry, is on the precipice of doing something really extraordinary.”

The Sunshine Coast Arts Plan 2018–2038 articulates four goals and supporting strategies that over the next 20 years, will stimulate the Coast arts sector, create opportunities to build a strong creative community, communicate and showcase the value of the arts, actively explore partnerships and collaborations, grow participation in the arts, and identify opportunities to invest in the arts including places where the arts are made and showcased.

The community consultation phase for the plan closed on July 13 and a council spokesperson says it is planned to go before the councillors for endorsement at the August 16 Ordinary Meeting.

Ms Van Zejl says she is pleased the council is taking the arts seriously.

“Australia is such a sporting nation and we are lacking a little bit in the arts, but here we have a council talking about and engaging people to create more focus on the industry and it’s fantastic to see,” she says.

“Art really does add to your life. Murals, sculptures and other public artworks are joyous things and it will only enhance the community for more of them to be around.”

To view the full Horizon Festival program, visit

Fast facts

• The festival runs for 10 days
• More than 150 events
• Events will be held in 22 locations across the Coast
• More than 55,000 people are expected to see one or more events



Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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