A vibrant first-of-its-kind festival where “everybody belongs” will set a new precedent for diverse and inclusive events in the region.
The inaugural Rangebow Festival is coming to the Blackall Range from August 10 to 13 and will celebrate togetherness through more than 30 curated events.
Across the four days, the program includes pageants, First Nations experiences, symphonies and workshops.
Festival director Wayne Parcell has always dreamed of creating a community festival and after suggestions, including a mardi gras, he knew he needed something that was more inclusive.
With foundations in diversity, inclusion, sustainability and reconciliation, Mr Parcell says the festival is a vehicle to amplify these themes to people in a way that is not confrontational.
“The four festival themes came about because they are central to everyday life and should be celebrated for the value they bring through individuals together for our community,” he says.
“It was fundamental that the festival embraces everyone.
“No one should be left out. No label, no acronyms – because everyone belongs.
“The moment we start using acronyms, we start excluding people, and that would not be inclusive.
“This is a chance to foster social change that is achieved through entertainment, education and outdoor activities. We can embrace change through lived experience.”
Mr Parcell says the festival program – with events in Maleny, Montville, Flaxton, Mapleton and Nambour – reflects the immense diversity of life experiences in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
He says there will be events to cater for everyone and every budget, including in the Enchanted Garden, which will feature in-conversation experiences and entertainment.
“Beyond the many free events like The Enchanted Garden, the festival will surprise and delight the foodies with a celebration of Indigenous food and culture in Forage Fire Feast and the Glasshouse Mountains Dreamtime stories told by a Jinibara man,” Mr Parcell says.
“The Pageant of Pineapple Queens and Bunya Kings offers individuals of different ages and abilities the opportunity to participate in drag performance workshops and then parade their creativity and flair on a runway in Maleny.
“If you like tennis or bowls, there is a chance to incorporate fun outdoors with entertainment and humour.”
The Moonlight Symphony on the Friday will see local primary school musicians, who make up the The Rangebow Children’s Orchestra, play original compositions with the Sunshine Coast Symphony Orchestra.
“Music lovers will share a unique creative experience that culminates in an orchestral performance never before experienced,” Mr Parcell says. “For those looking for something a bit racier, the Cabaret events after the Moonlight Symphony will be just the ticket.”
There is a Bunya Bears Brunch with Indigenous and multicultural foods for children and families in Montville on the Saturday, as well as free live entertainment throughout the main street of the town.
Mr Parcell hopes the Rangebow Festival will become an annual event and is grateful for the continued community support.
For the full program and tickets, visit therangebowfestival.org.