The Winter Magic Festival has long been a must see event in The Blue Mountains Calendar. It began in 1994 as a Winter Solstice celebration and a way to boost business in the colder months by having a huge solstice party on the longest Saturday of the year. It has grown to be a massive street party, attracting up to 40,000 visitors and generating more than $2 million for the local economy, not to mention becoming a part of the 'brand' of the Blue Mountains.
After a break in 2018, the Winter Magic Festival returns in 2019 to celebrate its 25th birthday. Winter Magic is a sustainable, vibrant, community-focused winter solstice celebration of the arts and creativity centred on Katoomba Street, “It's the most beloved event in the Blue Mountains and has become a major tourist drawcard” says Naomi, a member of the organising committee, “it really is a time for mountains people to get together, dress up, play, display their creativity, and connect with each other. That's what solstice is about - a time for drawing close and nurturing the light”.
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Under the Winter Night Sky’ and is about bringing the festival back to the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. However the festival is more than just celebrating the solstice, it’s about celebrating the wonderfully diverse Blue Mountains Community. “Winter Magic IS the community. It's about the people of this town. It is a massive boost to business and tourism, but it's primarily a celebration of the incredible place we live and the remarkable, creative, talented and eccentric people who live here.”
Due to the level of regulation imposed by the NSW Government and Council and the massive cost of traffic control to manage the large number of visitors, a decision was made this year to not hold the famous Winter Magic Parade. In its place the festival will focus more on street-based entertainment and artisan stalls. Naomi and the committee are excited to be presenting 13 brand new community arts projects as part of the festival. “We've supported a range of community organisations to make new work, and they will be the centrepiece of our program this year. As well, we're presenting a line-up of more than 70 music, dance and performance acts, on a dozen stages both inside and outside. People who come to Winter Magic this year can expect an extraordinarily high standard of entertainment. Best of all, every act is from the Blue Mountains. It's fantastic to be able to support local arts, performance and music.”
Some of the talented acts to watch out for on the main stage are Midnight Tea Party, Rachael Brady and the Moonshine Special, and Disco Frisco. Jimmi Carr will be performing in The Baroque and a children and youth area is being set up at the Cultural Centre that will appeal to all ages. Counterpoint will be filling the forecourt of the Cultural Centre at 11am with the most divine sounds, rung on bells. The Civic Place stage also has a huge range of acts, including Suzy Spindoll. There are also many acts performing at Katoomba venues, such as Thumb Drive at Metropole and Witches Leap at the Avalon Restaurant. The committee are particularly excited about the talented young acts performing at this year’s festival including Ace Evergreen, Allegra Dunning, Kaziah, and Penny Dreadful.
This year the festival will also focus on Artisan market stalls with a number of our talented local makers setting up shop for the day along Katoomba street. A wide range of quality handmade items will be on offer to festival goers. Look out for Not Without Spice, Maple Grove Guitars, Vintage Creation Bags, Julie Marie Design and Spiral Soul Seed to name just a few. The Blue Mountains Makers will also be there with a collection of handmade items and members will be on hand to talk about our organisation and answer questions.
Be sure to also check out the Yarn High Tea Party installation outside the library. This yarn-bombing creation is lead by local group Fibres in the Mist. It includes table and chairs covered in yarn adorned with knitted and crocheted tea pots, cups and saucers and high tea treats.. Local girl guides have also made flowers and children of mixed abilities have been making finger knitted snails. There will also be a ‘count the snail’ competition.
The Winter Magic Festival is a not-for-profit incorporated association led by an elected committee. The committee members have backgrounds in arts and cultural and community development, management, event coordination, and waste management. This year the festival committee teamed up with The Blue Mountains Makers Inc. to manage the 160+ Artisan and Food stalls that will be at the festival. As well as the organising committee, each year approximately 50 volunteers are recruited to assist on the day - and there’s always space for more! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved.
This year’s festival is held on Saturday June 22nd. For details on the day’s program, head to https://www.wintermagic.com.au/festival-program-2019/ .
For more information on the festival head to https://www.wintermagic.com.au/